Skip to main content
Internet Archive's 25th Anniversary Logo

Full text of "Country reports on human rights practices : report submitted to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, U.S. House of Representatives and Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate by the Department of State in accordance with sections 116(d) and 502B(b) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended"

See other formats


102d  Congress      1  f  S.  Prt. 

UtSe^Zn  JOINT  COMMITTEE  PRINT  j^j.j 


COUNTRY  REPORTS  ON  HUMAN  RIGHTS 
PRACTICES  FOR  1990 


REPORT 


SUBMITTED  TO  THE 


iC?C5, 


COMMITTEE  ON  FOREIGN  RELATIONS 
U.S.  SENATE 

AND  THE 

COMMITTEE  ON  FOREIGN  AFFAIRS 
HOUSE  OF  REPRESENTATIVES 

BY  THE 

DEPARTMENT  OF  STATE 

IN  ACCORDANCE  WITH  SECTIONS  116(d)  AND  502B(b)  OF  THE 
FOREIGN  ASSISTANCE  ACT  OF  1961,  AS  AMENDED 


FEBRUARY  1991 


Printed  for  the  use  of  the  Committees  on  Foreign  Relations  and  Foreign 
Affairs  of  the  Senate  and  House  of  Representatives  respectively 


UMASS/AMHERST 


31EDbbDlh7bT13a 


102d  Conn-ess      1  f  S.  Prt. 

lstS*ssL  JOINT  COMMITTEE  PRINT  j^^-S 


COUNTRY  REPORTS  ON  HUMAN  RIGHTS 
PRACTICES  FOR  1990 


REPORT 


SUBMITTED  TO  THE 


COMMITTEE  ON  FOREIGN  RELATIONS 
U.S.  SENATE 

AND  THE 

COMMITTEE  ON  FOREIGN  AFFAIRS 
HOUSE  OF  REPRESENTATIVES 

BY  THE 

DEPARTMENT  OF  STATE 

IN  ACCORDANCE  WITH  SECTIONS  116(d)  AND  502B(b)  OF  THE 
FOREIGN  ASSISTANCE  ACT  OF  1961,  AS  AMENDED 


FEBRUARY  1991 


Printed  for  the  use  of  the  Committees  on  Foreign  Relations  and  Foreign 
Affairs  of  the  Senate  and  House  of  Representatives  respectively 


U.S.  GOVERNMENT  PRINTING  OFFICE 
WASHINGTON  :   1991 


For  sale  by  the  Superintendent  of  Documents,  U.S.  Government  Printing  Office 
Washington,  DC    20402 


COMMITTEE  ON  FOREIGN  RELATIONS 


CLAIBORNE  PELL,  Rhode  Island,  Chairman 


JOSEPH  R.  BIDEN,  Jr.,  Delaware 
PAUL  S.  SARBANES,  Maryland 
ALAN  CRANSTON,  California 
CHRISTOPHER  J.  DODD,  Connecticut 
JOHN  F.  KERRY,  Massachusetts 
PAUL  SIMON,  Illinois 
TERRY  SANFORD,  North  Carolina 
DANIEL  P.  MOYNIHAN,  New  York 
CHARLES  S.  ROBB,  Virginia 

Geryld  B.  Christianson,  Staff  Director 
James  P.  Lucier,  Minority  Staff  Director 


JESSE  HELMS,  North  Carolina 
RICHARD  G.  LUGAR,  Indiana 
NANCY  L.  KASSEBAUM,  Kansas 
LARRY  PRESSLER,  South  Dakota 
FRANK  H.  MURKOWSKI,  Alaska 
MITCH  McCONNELL,  Kentucky 
CONNIE  MACK,  Florida 


COMMITTEE  ON  FOREIGN  AFFAIRS 
DANTE  B.  FASCELL,  Florida,  Chairman 


LEE  H.  HAMILTON,  Indiana 

GUS  YATRON,  Pennsylvania 

STEPHEN  J.  SOLARZ,  New  York 

HOWARD  WOLPE,  Michigan 

SAM  GEJDENSON,  Connecticut 

MERVYN  M.  DYMALLY,  California 

TOM  LANTOS,  California 

ROBERT  G.  TORRICELLI,  New  Jersey 

HOWARD  L.  BERMAN,  California 

MEL  LEVTNE,  California 

EDWARD  F.  FEIGHAN,  Ohio 

TED  WEBS,  New  York 

GARY  L.  ACKERMAN,  New  York 

MORRIS  K.  UDALL,  Arizona 

JAIME  B.  FUSTER,  Puerto  Rico 

WAYNE  OWENS,  Utah 

HARRY  JOHNSTON,  Florida 

ELIOT  L.  ENGEL,  New  York 

ENI  F.H.  FALEOMAVAEGA,  American 

Samoa 
GERRY  E.  STUDDS,  Massachusetts 
AUSTIN  J.  MURHPY,  Pennsylvania 
PETER  H.  KOSTMAYER,  Pennsylvania 
THOMAS  M.  FOGLIETTA,  Pennsylvania 
FRANK  McCLOSKEY,  Indiana 
THOMAS  C.  SAWYER,  Ohio 
DONALD  M.  PAYNE,  New  Jersey 
BILL  ORTON,  Utah 


WILLIAM  S.  BROOMFIELD,  Mighigan 

BENJAMIN  A.  OILMAN,  New  York 

ROBERT  J.  LAGOMARSINO,  California 

WILLIAM  F.  GOODLING,  Pennsylvania 

JIM  LEACH,  Iowa 

TOBY  ROTH,  Wisconsin 

OLYMPIA  J.  SNOWE,  Maine 

HENRY  J.  HYDE,  lUinois 

DOUG  BEREUTER,  Nebraska 

CHRISTOPHER  H.  SMITH,  New  Jersey 

DAN  BURTON,  Indiana 

JAN  MEYERS,  Kansas 

JOHN  MILLER,  Washington 

BEN  BLAZ,  Guam 

ELTON  GALLEGLY,  California 

AMO  HOUGHTON,  New  York 

PORTER  J.  GOSS,  Florida 

ILEANA  ROS-LEHTINEN,  Florida 


John  J.  Brady,  Jr.,  Chief  of  Staff 
John  R.  Sinclair,  Minority  Chief  of  Staff 


(II) 


FOREWORD 


The  country  reports  on  human  rights  practices  contained  herein 
were  prepared  by  the  Department  of  State  in  accordance  with  sec- 
tions 116(d)  and  502B(b)  of  the  Foreign  Assistance  Act  of  1961,  as 
amended.  They  also  fulfill  the  legislative  requirements  of  section 
31  of  the  Bretton  Woods  Agreements  Act  and  section  505(c)  of  the 
Trade  Act  of  1974,  as  amended. 

The  reports  cover  the  human  rights  practices  of  all  nations  that 
receive  U.S.  foreign  assistance,  those  nations  that  do  not  but  are 
members  of  the  United  Nations,  and  those  few  nations  that  are  not 
members  of  the  United  Nations.  They  are  printed  to  assist  Mem- 
bers of  Congress  in  the  consideration  of  legislation. 

Claiborne  Pell, 
Chairman,  Committee  on  Foreign  Relations, 
Dante  B.  Fascell, 
Chairman,  Committee  on  Foreign  Affairs. 

(Ill) 


LETTER  OF  TRANSMITTAL 


Department  of  State, 
Washington,  DC,  January  12,  1991. 
Hon.  Claiborne  Pell, 

Chairman,  Committee  on  Foreign  Relations. 
Hon.  Thomas  Foley, 
Speaker,  House  of  Representatives. 

Dear  Sirs:  I  have  the  distinct  honor  to  present  the  report  pre- 
pared in  compHance  with  sections  116(d)(1)  and  502B(b)  of  the  For- 
eign Assistance  Act  of  1961,  as  amended,  and  section  505(c)  of  the 
Trade  Act  of  1974,  as  amended. 
With  best  wishes, 
Sincerely, 

Janet  G.  Mullins, 
Assistant  Secretary,  Legislative  Affairs. 
Enclosure. 

(V) 


INTRODUCTION 


1990  Human  Rights  Report 

This  report  is  submitted  to  the  Congress  by  the  Department  of 
State  in  compliance  with  Sections  116(d)(1)  and  502B(b)  of  the  For- 
eign Assistance  Act  of  1961,  as  amended.^  The  legislation  requires 
human  rights  reports  on  all  countries  that  receive  aid  from  the 
United  States  and  all  countries  that  are  members  of  the  United 
Nations.  In  the  belief  that  the  information  would  be  useful  to  the 
Congress  and  other  readers,  we  have  also  included  reports  on  the 
few  countries  which  do  not  fall  into  either  of  these  categories  and 
which  thus  are  not  covered  by  the  Congressional  requirement. 

Congress  amended  the  Foreign  Assistance  Act  with  the  foregoing 
sections  of  law  so  as  to  be  able  to  consult  these  reports  when  con- 
sidering assistance  programs  for  specific  foreign  countries.  One  of 
the  very  important  consequences — perhaps  unintended — of  these 
legislative  provisions  is  that  they  have  made  human  rights  con- 
cerns an  integral  part  of  the  State  Department's  daily  reporting 
and  daily  decisionmaking.  A  human  rights  officer  in  an  Embassy 
overseas  who  wants  to  write  a  good  annual  human  rights  report  on 
the  country  in  which  he  or  she  works  must  carefully  monitor  and 
observe  human  rights  developments  throughout  the  year  on  a  daily 
basis.  As  a  consequence  he  or  she  will  report  on  such  developments 
whenever  something  of  human  rights  significance  happens  in  the 
country  of  assignment.  In  the  past  12  years,  the  State  Department 
has  become  decidedly  better  informed  on  and  sensitized  to  human 
rights  violations  as  they  occur  around  the  globe. 

A  year  ago  in  this  space  we  posed  the  question  whether  the 
human  rights  gains  of  1989  in  Eastern  Europe  and  other  parts  of 
the  world  would  be  lasting  achievements,  or  whether  there  was 
danger  of  relapse.  For  most  of  the  year  1990,  the  gains  of  1989  were 
being  largely  consolidated,  in  spite  of  major  problems  encountered 
by  the  countries  making  difficult  transitions  from  command  to 


'  Section  116(d)(1)  of  the  Foreign  Assistance  Act  provides  as  follows: 

"The  Secretary  of  State  shall  transmit  to  the  Speaker  of  the  House  of  Representatives  and  the 
Committee  on  Foreign  Relations  of  the  Senate,  by  January  31  of  each  year,  a  full  and  complete 
report  regarding  •  •   • 

'(1)  the  status  of  internationally  recognized  human  rights,  within  the  meaning  of  subsection 
(a)  •  •  • 

(A)  in  countries  that  received  assistance  under  this  part,  and 

(B)  in  all  other  foreign  countries  which  are  members  of  the  United  Nations  and  which  are  not 
otherwise  the  subject  of  a  human  rights  report  under  this  Act." 

Section  502(B)Cb)  of  the  Foreign  Assistance  Act  provides  as  follows: 

"The  Secretary  of  State  shall  transmit  to  Congress,  as  part  of  the  presentation  materials  for 
security  assistance  programs  proposed  for  each  fiscal  year,  a  full  and  complete  report,  prepared 
with  the  assistance  of  the  Assistant  Secretary  of  State  for  Human  Rights  and  Humanitarian 
Affairs,  with  respect  to  practices  regarding  the  observance  of  and  respect  for  internationally  rec- 
ognized human  rights  in  each  country  proposed  £is  a  recipient  of  security  assistance." 

(VII) 


vin 

market  economies  and  from  totalitarian  communism  to  democracy. 
Iraq's  brutal  invasion  of  Kuwait  on  August  2,  1990,  initiated  a 
reign  of  terror  and  human  rights  abuses  that  reminded  the  world 
of  the  dangers  that  repressive  regimes  can  pose  to  regional  security 
and  international  order. 

In  Europe,  multiparty  elections  had  taken  place  in  the  countries 
which  had  been  joined  to  the  Soviet  Union  in  the  Warsaw  Pact. 
Following  such  elections,  the  former  German  Democratic  Republic 
had,  by  decision  of  a  democratically  elected  government,  joined  the 
Federal  Republic  of  Germany.  Freely  contested  elections  had  also 
taken  place  in  all  of  the  constituent  republics  of  Yugoslavia.  Even 
in  hardline  Albania,  there  was  evidence  of  increasing  popular  pres- 
sure for  greater  freedom. 

Across  Eastern  Europe  and  the  Soviet  Union,  the  process  of  de- 
mocratization was  in  some  areas  hampered  by  the  totalitarian 
legacy  and  by  interethnic  antagonisms  that  had  been  suppressed 
for  decades.  The  United  States  expressed  concern  about  violence 
against  social  and  ethnic  groups  in  Romania.  The  repressive  meas- 
ures taken  by  the  Serbian  republic  against  ethnic  Albanians  were 
among  the  worst  in  Europe  in  1990.  Yet,  there  were  also  some  posi- 
tive developments  in  interethnic  relations  in  the  region.  Under  the 
impact  of  democratization  and  increasing  concern  for  human 
rights,  Bulgaria  was  able  to  improve  significantly  the  treatment  of 
its  ethnic  and  religious  minorities. 

In  the  Soviet  Union  in  1990,  vast  numbers  of  citizens  continued 
to  exercise  newly  won  political  rights,  including  freedoms  of  expres- 
sion, assembly,  and  religion.  Hundreds  of  thousands  were  permit- 
ted to  emigrate.  However,  reforms  were  unevenly  implemented  in 
the  country  as  a  whole,  and  many  are  not  yet  secured  by  law  or 
buttressed  by  an  independent  judiciary.  Toward  the  end  of  the  year 
and  in  early  1991,  the  central  government's  moves  to  reassert  au- 
thority over  the  republics,  particularly  the  use  of  military  force  in 
Latvia  and  Lithuania,  raised  concern  over  the  future  of  the  recent 
reforms,  with  dangerous  implications  for  the  entire  country. 

While  Europe  was  struggling  to  consolidate  its  democratic  gains, 
new  democratic  ferment  was  most  clearly  in  evidence  in  Africa. 
There  was  significant  movement  away  from  apartheid  in  South 
Africa,  and  in  many  other  sub-Saharan  African  countries  impor- 
tant steps  were  taken  toward  democratic  rule.  Following  multi- 
party elections,  Namibia  joined  the  ranks  of  independent  states  in 
March.  A  government  pledged  to  democracy  and  human  rights  suc- 
ceeded the  regime  of  Benin.  Laws  authorizing  new  political  parties, 
which  would  thus  allow  for  free,  contested  elections  were  enacted 
in  Gabon,  Cote  D'lvoire,  Congo,  and  Zambia.  Contested  elections 
were  indeed  held  in  Gabon  and  Cote  d'lvoire.  In  Cape  Verde,  and 
Sao  Tome  and  Principe,  the  one-party  governments  lost  free  elec- 
tions and  have  said  they  will  honor  the  results.  However,  the  inter- 
group  rivalries  that  beset  many  parts  of  the  continent  resulted  in 
large-scale  death  and  devastation.  The  hostilities  surrounding  the 
fall  of  President  Doe  of  Liberia,  clan-based  or  intratribal  warfare  in 
Somalia,  civil  strife  in  Ethiopia  with  Eritrean  and  Tigrean  insur- 
gents, the  civil  war  in  Sudan,  the  measures  taken  by  Mauritania 
against  its  black  population  in  the  south,  and  the  violence  in  South 
Africa  among  black  groups,  caused  many  hundreds  of  deaths  in 


IX 

some  countries  and  thousands  in  others.  The  Sudanese  govern- 
ment's failure  to  cooperate  in  food  deliveries  may  lead  to  wide- 
spread starvation  in  southern  Sudan  in  1991. 

In  the  Western  Hemisphere,  the  election  and  inauguration  of  a 
democratic  government  in  Nicaragua  left  the  repressive  dictator- 
ship of  Fidel  Castro  the  only  Marxist-Leninist  regime  in  the  region. 
After  close  to  17  years  of  military  rule,  a  democratically  elected 
President  and  Congress  took  office  in  Chile.  A  new  President  was 
elected  in  Haiti  in  a  free  and  fair  election.  Democratic  government 
and  respect  for  human  rights  were  further  consolidated  in  other 
countries  of  the  hemisphere,  though  the  struggle  for  democracy 
continued  in  Suriname.  In  four  democratic  countries — Colombia,  El 
Salvador,  Guatemala,  and  Peru — leftist  insurgencies  (in  Colombia 
and  Peru  at  times  in  alliance  with  narcotraffickers)  and  excessive 
responses  by  government  security  forces  have  resulted  in  scores  of 
noncombat  deaths  in  El  Salvador,  hundreds  in  both  Colombia  and 
Guatemala,  and  3,000  to  4,000  in  Peru. 

Cultural  patterns  and  political  systems  differ  widely  on  the  huge 
Asian  continent.  Yet  some  of  the  developments,  both  positive  and 
negative,  which  could  be  noticed  elsewhere  in  the  world  affected  a 
number  of  Asian  countries  as  well.  Two  widely  different  countries, 
Marxist-Leninist  Mongolia  and  the  traditional  monarchy  of  Nepal, 
moved  toward  democracy  in  the  course  of  the  year.  There  is  hope 
now  that  democracy  will  gain  a  foothold  in  Bangladesh.  In  China, 
North  Korea,  Vietnam,  and  to  a  lesser  extent  in  Laos,  Cambodia, 
and  Afghanistan,  Marxism-Leninism  continues  to  be  the  official  po- 
litical ideology.  North  Korea  remains  one  of  the  most  severely  re- 
pressive regimes  in  the  world.  In  China,  serious  human  rights 
abuses  continued  in  1990.  As  the  year  ended,  hundreds  of  Chinese 
people  remained  imprisoned  for  their  role  in  the  democracy  move- 
ment, while  students  and  intellectuals  who  took  leadership  roles  in 
the  1989  protests  were  being  brought  to  trial  and  sentenced  to 
prison  terms. 

Severe  and  brutal  repression  of  all  forms  of  political  dissent  char- 
acterizes the  situation  in  Burma.  There  a  military  government  had 
allowed  free  elections  and  then  refused  to  accept  the  outcome,  thus 
rejecting  the  overwhelming  desire  of  the  people  to  return  to  parlia- 
mentary democracy.  Two  South  Asian  democracies,  India  and  Sri 
Lanka,  were  beset  by  domestic  conflict  based  on  ethnic,  religious, 
and  political  differences,  leading  to  thousands  of  deaths  in  each  of 
these  countries. 

In  the  Occupied  Territories  the  Palestinian  intifada  continues.  In 
both  Israel  and  the  Occupied  Territories,  a  total  of  148  Palestinians 
and  17  Israelis  were  killed  in  violence  between  Palestinians  and  Is- 
raelis, while  165  people  were  killed  in  intra-Palestinian  violence. 

As  the  human  rights  balance  sheet  for  1990  is  drawn  and  as  we 
look  for  further  progress  in  1991,  one  of  the  key  questions  will  be 
posed  by  the  Soviet  Union.  Will  the  combination  of  entrenched  con- 
servative forces,  economic  turmoil,  and  social  upheaval  bring  the 
reform  era  to  an  end?  Or  alternatively,  will  the  disparate  demo- 
cratic forces  and  proponents  of  the  free  market  overcome  the  coun- 
terattack of  the  hardliners  and  solidify  and  institutionalize  the 
human  rights  progress  thus  far  achieved?  If  they  do,  there  success 


will  be  felt  not  only  in  the  Soviet  Union  but  elsewhere  in  the  world 
as  well. 

Another  important  region  to  watch  is  sub-Saharan  Africa.  WUl 
the  initial  democratic  stirrings  ripen  into  further  significant  politi- 
cal movements?  Will  the  region's  authoritarian  regimes  allow  free 
and  fair  elections  to  be  held  and  then  surrender  power  peacefully 
to  the  choices  of  the  people? 

And,  finally,  there  is  the  question  of  the  aftermath  of  the  world 
community's  move  to  halt  the  international  outlawry  perpetrated 
by  Saddam  Hussein.  What  will  be  the  spillover  effect  for  interna- 
tional support  for  human  rights  principles? 

This  year,  as  last,  there  are  168  separate  reports.  The  guidelines 
followed  in  preparing  the  reports  are  explained  in  detail  in  Appen- 
dix A.  In  Appendix  B  is  a  discussion  of  reporting  on  worker  rights, 
as  required  by  Section  505(c)  of  the  Trade  Act  of  1974,  as  amended 
by  Title  V  of  the  Trade  and  Tariff  Act  of  1984  (Generalized  System 
of  Preferences  Renewal  Act  of  1984).  ^ 

Although  the  legislation  requires  reports  on  worker  rights  only 
in  developing  countries  that  have  been  beneficiaries  under  the 
Generalized  System  of  Preferences,  in  the  interest  of  uniformity, 
and  to  provide  a  ready  basis  for  comparison,  we  have  here  applied 
the  same  reporting  standards  that  we  have  applied  to  all  countries 
on  which  we  prepare  reports.  Appendix  C  contains  a  list  of  12 
international  human  rights  covenants  and  agreements  and  indi- 
cates which  countries  have  ratified  them.  Appendix  D  contains  ex- 
planatory notes  on  the  statistical  table  in  Appendix  E,  which  shows 
the  amounts  obligated  for  U.S.  economic  and  military  assistance 
for  fiscal  year  1989. 

Definition  of  Human  Rights 

Human  rights,  as  defined  in  Section  116(a)  of  the  Foreign  Assist- 
ance Act,  include  freedom  from  torture  or  other  cruel,  inhuman,  or 
degrading  treatment  or  punishment;  prolonged  detention  without 
charges;  disappearance  due  to  abduction  or  clandestine  detention; 
and  other  flagrant  denial  of  the  rights  to  life,  liberty,  and  the  secu- 
rity of  the  person.  Internationally  recognized  worker  rights,  as  de- 
fined Section  502(a)  of  the  Trade  Act,  include  (A)  the  right  of  asso- 
ciation; (B)  the  right  to  organize  and  bargain  collectively;  (C)  prohi- 
bition on  the  use  of  any  form  of  forced  or  compulsory  labor;  (D)  a 
minimum  age  for  the  employment  of  children;  and  (E)  acceptable 
conditions  of  work  with  respect  to  minimum  wages,  hours  of  work, 
and  occupational  safety  and  health. 

In  addition  to  discussing  the  topics  specified  in  the  legislation, 
our  reports,  as  in  previous  years,  cover  other  internationally  recog- 
nized political  and  civil  rights  and  describe  the  political  system  of 
each  country. 

In  applying  these  internationally  recognized  standards,  we  seek 
to  be  objective.  But  the  reports  unashamedly  reflect  the  U.S.  view 
that  the  right  of  self-government  is  a  basic  political  right,  that  gov- 
ernment is  legitimate  only  when  grounded  on  the  consent  of  the 


^  Section  505  (c)  of  the  Trade  Act  provides  as  follows: 

"The  President  shall  submit  an  annual  report  to  the  Congress  on  the  status  of  internationally 
recognized  worker  rights  within  each  beneficiary  developing  country."  miernauonaiiy 


XI 

governed,  and  that  government  thus  grounded  should  not  be  used 
to  deny  life,  liberty,  and  the  pursuit  of  happiness.  Individuals  in  a 
society  have  the  inalienable  right  to  be  free  from  governmental  vio- 
lations of  the  integrity  of  the  person;  to  enjoy  civil  liberties  such  as 
freedom  of  expression,  assembly,  religion,  and  movement,  without 
discrimination  based  on  race,  ancestry,  or  sex;  and  to  change  their 
government  by  peaceful  means.  The  reports  also  take  into  account 
the  fact  that  terrorists  and  guerrilla  groups  often  kill,  torture,  or 
maim  citizens  or  deprive  them  of  their  liberties;  such  violations  are 
no  less  reprehensible  if  committed  by  violent  opponents  of  the  gov- 
ernment than  if  committed  by  the  government  itself. 

We  have  found  that  the  concept  of  economic,  social,  and  cultural 
rights  is  often  confused,  sometimes  willfully,  by  repressive  govern- 
ments claiming  that,  in  order  to  promote  these  "rights,"  they  may 
deny  their  citizens  the  right  to  integrity  of  the  person  as  well  as 
political  and  civil  rights.  There  exists  a  profound  connection  be- 
tween human  rights  and  economic  development.  Experience  dem- 
onstrates that  it  is  individual  freedom  that  sets  the  stage  for  eco- 
nomic and  social  development;  it  is  repression  that  stifles  it.  Those 
who  try  to  justify  subordinating  political  and  civil  rights  on  the 
ground  that  they  are  concentrating  on  economic  aspirations  invari- 
ably deliver  neither.  That  is  why  we  consider  it  imperative  to  focus 
urgent  attention  on  violations  of  basic  political  and  civil  rights.  If 
these  basic  rights  are  not  secured,  experience  has  shown,  the  goals 
of  economic  development  are  not  reached  either.  This  is  a  point 
which  the  Soviet  Union's  reformers  seem  to  have  recognized. 

United  States  Human  Rights  Policy 

From  this  premise,  that  basic  human  rights  may  not  be  abridged 
or  denied,  it  follows  that  our  human  rights  policy  is  concerned  with 
the  limitations  on  the  pov/ers  of  government  that  are  required  to 
protect  the  integrity  and  dignity  of  the  individual.  Further,  it  is  in 
our  national  interest  to  promote  democratic  processes  in  order  to 
help  build  a  world  environment  more  favorable  to  respect  for 
human  rights  and  hence  more  conducive  to  stability  and  peace.  We 
have  developed,  therefore,  a  dual  policy,  reactive  in  the  sense  that 
we  continue  to  oppose  specific  human  rights  violations  wherever 
they  occur,  but  at  the  same  time  active  in  working  over  the  long 
term  to  strengthen  democracy. 

In  much  of  the  world,  the  United  States  has  a  variety  of  means 
at  its  disposal  to  respond  to  human  rights  violations.  We  engage  in 
traditional  diplomacy,  particularly  with  friendly  governments, 
where  frank  diplomatic  exchanges  are  possible  and  productive. 
Where  we  find  limited  opportunities  for  the  United  States  to  exert 
significant  influence  through  bilateral  relations,  we  resort  to  public 
statements  of  our  concerns,  calling  attention  to  countries  where  re- 
spect for  human  rights  is  lacking.  In  a  number  of  instances,  we 
employ  a  mixture  of  traditional  diplomacy  and  public  affirmation 
of  American  interest  in  the  issue. 

The  United  States  also  employs  a  variety  of  means  to  encourage 
greater  respect  for  human  rights  over  the  long  term.  Since  1983 
the  National  Endowment  for  Democracy  has  been  carrying  out  pro- 
grams designed  to  promote  democratic  practices  abroad,  involving 
the  two  major  United  States  political  parties,  labor  unions,  busi- 


XII 

ness  groups,  and  many  private  institutions.  Also,  through  Section 
116(e)  of  the  Foreign  Assistance  Act,  funds  are  disbursed  by  the 
Agency  for  International  Development  for  programs  designed  to 
promote  civil  and  political  rights  abroad.  We  also  seek  greater 
international  commitment  to  the  protection  of  human  rights  and 
respect  for  democracy  through  our  efforts  in  the  United  Nations 
and  other  international  organizations,  and  in  the  process  devised 
by  the  Conference  on  Security  and  Cooperation  in  Europe. 

Preparation  of  these  annual  reports  constitutes  an  important  ele- 
ment of  our  human  rights  policy.  The  process,  since  it  involves  con- 
tinuous and  well-publicized  attention  to  human  rights,  has  contrib- 
uted to  the  strengthening  of  an  international  human  rights  agenda. 
Many  countries  that  are  strong  supporters  of  human  rights  are 
taking  steps  of  their  own  to  engage  in  human  rights  reporting  and 
have  established  offices  specifically  responsible  for  international 
human  rights  policy.  Even  among  countries  without  strong  human 
rights  records,  sensitivity  to  these  reports  increasingly  takes  the 
form  of  constructive  response,  or  at  least  a  willingness  to  engage  in 
a  discussion  of  human  rights  policy.  In  calling  upon  the  Depart- 
ment of  State  to  prepare  these  reports.  Congress  has  created  a 
useful  instrument  for  advancing  the  cause  of  human  rights. 

Richard  Schifter, 
Assistant  Secretary  of  State  for 
Human  Rights  and  Humanitarian  Affairs. 


CONTENTS 


Page 

Foreword in 

Letter  of  Transmittal v 

Introduction vii 

Africa: 

Angola 1 

Benin 9 

Botswana 16 

Burkina  Faso 24 

Burundi 32 

Cameroon 42 

Cape  Verde 54 

Central  African  Republic 61 

Chad 70 

Comoros 79 

Congo 85 

Cote  d'lvoire 94 

Djibouti 103 

Equatorial  Guinea 109 

Ethiopia 115 

Gabon 127 

Gambia,  The 135 

Ghana 142 

Guinea 152 

Guinea-Bissau 161 

Kenya 167 

Lesotho 183 

Liberia 192 

Madagascar 203 

Malawi 212 

Mali 223 

Mauritania 232 

Mauritius 242 

Mozambique 249 

Namibia 261 

Niger 273 

Nigeria 283 

Rwanda 299 

Sao  Tome  and  Principe 310 

Senegal 316 

Seychelles 327 

Sierra  Leone 336 

Somalia 344 

South  Africa 355 

Sudan 379 

Swaziland 399 

Tanzania 409 

Togo 422 

Uganda 433 

Zaire 446 

Zambia 460 

Zimbabwe 472 

Central  and  South  America: 

Antigua  and  Barbuda 486 

Argentina 491 

Bahamas 499 

(XIIl) 


XIV 

Page 

Central  and  South  America — CoNTiKfUED 

Barbados 504 

Belize 509 

Bolivia 515 

BrazU 524 

Chile 536 

Colombia 548 

Costa  Rica 561 

Cuba 568 

Dominica 584 

Dominican  Republic 588 

Ecuador 599 

El  Salvador 608 

Grenada 625 

Guatemala 631 

Guyana 646 

Haiti 655 

Honduras 665 

Jamaica 677 

Mexico 686 

Nicaragua 701 

Panama 715 

Paraguay 727 

Peru 736 

St.  Kitts  and  Nevis 755 

St.  Lucia 760 

St.  Vincent  and  the  Grenadines 764 

Suriname 769 

Trinidad  and  Tobago 781 

Uruguay 792 

Venezuela 800 

East  Asia  and  the  Pacific: 

Australia 810 

Brunei 816 

Burma 822 

Cambodia 833 

China 845 

China  (Taiwan  only) 867 

Fiji 882 

Indonesia 892 

Japan 910 

Kiribati 917 

Korea,  Democratic  People's  Republic  of 921 

Korea,  Republic  of 929 

Laos 943 

Malaysia 952 

Marshall  Islands 966 

Micronesia,  Federated  States'of 970 

Mongolia 974 

Nauru 981 

New  Zealand 985 

Papua  New  Guinea 990 

Philippines 999 

Singapore 10i9 

Solomon  Islands 1034 

Thailand 1039 

Tonga 1054 

Vanuatu : 1058 

Vietnam 1063 

Western  Samoa 1076 

Europe  and  North  America: 

Albania 1081 

S^ftria lOgg 

^\S^^^ 1095 

^^^e^J'^ 1100 

^«"^^« nil 

Cyprus 111^ 


XV 

Page 

Europe  and  North  America — Continued 

Czechoslovakia 1123 

Denmark 1132 

Estonia 1138 

Finland 1144 

France 1150 

Germany,  Federal  Republic  of 1156 

Greece 1166 

Hungary 1176 

Iceland 1184 

Ireland 1188 

Italy 1193 

Latvia 1201 

Lithuania 1206 

Luxembourg 1211 

Malta 1215 

Netherlands,  The 1221 

Norway 1227 

Poland 1233 

Portugal  (includes  Macau) 1243 

Romania 1253 

Spain 1266 

Sweden 1274 

Switzerland 1281 

Turkey 1286 

Union  of  Soviet  Socialist  Republics 1304 

United  Kingdom  (includes  Hong  Kong) 1325 

Yugoslavia 1342 

Near  East,  North  Africa,  and  South  Asia: 

Afghanistan 1360 

Algeria 1368 

Bahrain 1379 

Bangladesh 1387 

Bhutan 1401 

Egypt 1408 

India 1425 

Iran 1444 

Iraq 1457 

Israel  and  the  occupied  territories 1468 

Jordan „ 1497 

Kuwait 1507 

Lebanon 1522 

Libya 1533 

Maldives 1540 

Morocco 1547 

The  Western  Sahara 1560 

Nepal 1562 

Oman 1578 

Pakistan 1586 

Qatar 1608 

Saudi  Arabia 1615 

Sri  Lanka 1629 

Syria 1646 

Tunisia 1658 

United  Arab  Emirates 1670 

Yemen,  Republic  of 1677 

Appendixes: 

A.  Notes  on  preparation  of  the  reports 1689 

B.  Reporting  on  worker  rights 1693 

C.  Selected  international  human  rights  agreements 1696 

D.  Explanation  of  statistical  tables 1702 

E.  U.S.  bilateral  assistance  fiscal  years  1989  and  1990 1703 


ANGOLA* 


The  People's  Republic  of  Angola  (PRA)  is  controlled  by  the 
sole  legal  political  party,  the  Marxist-Leninist  Popular 
Movement  for  the  Liberation  of  Angola-Workers  Party 
(MPLA-PT) .   President  Jose  Eduardo  dos  Santos  is  both  Head  of 
State  and  chief  of  the  MPLA-PT.   All  major  policy  decisions 
are  made  by  a  small  group  within  the  party,  which  also 
controls  all  means  of  mass  communication.   Dos  Santos  has 
voiced  his  commitment  to  constitutional  reforms  that  may 
permit  other  Angolan  political  parties  in  the  future. 

The  PRA's  armed  forces  (FAPLA)  total  approximately  100,000. 
FAPLA  is  backed  by  a  lightly  armed  People's  Militia,  which  is 
used  for  counter  insurgency  and  defensive  duties  at  the  local 
level.   The  armed  opposition,  the  National  Union  for  the  Total 
Independence  of  Angola  (UNITA) ,  is  estimated  to  have  a  regular 
force  of  about  30,000,  as  well  as  a  comparable  number  of 
irregular  troops.   It  has  the  allegiance  of  a  substantial 
portion  of  the  population,  especially  among  Angola's  largest 
ethnic  group,  the  Ovimbundu,  as  well  as  the  Ganguela  and  the 
Lunda-Chokwe . 

UNITA  controls  the  southeastern  quarter  of  Angola  and  took 
control  of  portions  of  northern  Angola  during  1990.   UNITA 
operates  in  guerrilla  bands  in  central  and  northern  Angola, 
including  the  outskirts  of  Luanda,  the  capital  of  the  PRA. 
The  United  States  supports  UNITA  in  the  Angolan  conflict  and 
has  provided  it  with  assistance.   The  PRA  receives  extensive 
military  assistance  from  the  Soviet  Union  in  the  form  of 
materiel  (estimated  at  $500  million  in  1990)  and  over  1,000 
advisers  and  technicians.   As  of  October  1,  1990,  38,000  of 
the  estimated  50,000  Cuban  combat  troops  who  were  stationed  in 
the  country  in  support  of  the  Luanda  regime  had  been  withdrawn 
in  accordance  with  the  New  York  accords  of  December  22,  1988. 
Under  these  agreements,  Cuba  is  committed  to  withdraw  all  its 
troops  from  Angola  by  July  1,  1991. 

In  December  1989,  the  PRA,  with  the  help  of  Soviet  advisers, 
launched  a  new  military  offensive  into  UNITA-controlled  areas 
of  southeastern  Angola.   When  the  offensive  stalled  in  early 
April  1990,  the  PRA's  interest  in  negotiations  was  renewed. 
Both  sides  accepted  a  Portuguese  proposal  to  sponsor  direct 
talks,  and  the  two  antagonists  held  their  first  meeting  in 
late  April.   In  late  September,  U.S.  and  Soviet  technical 
experts  joined  in  the  fourth  round  of  Portuguese-sponsored 
direct  talks,  and  preliminary  discussions  were  held  on  a 
cease-fire  agreement  as  well  as  on  the  political  principles 
which  would  serve  as  the  framework  for  an  overall  settlement. 
Despite  further  progress  during  November  and  December,  the 
year  ended  without  agreement  on  a  cease-fire  or  the  basis  for 
a  political  settlement. 

The  civil  war,  which  has  ravaged  Angola  since  1975,  combined 
with  the  PRA's  Communist  command-style  economy,  has  devastated 
the  country's  infrastructure,  led  to  a  return  to  barter  in 
many  areas,  and  forced  the  PRA  to  divert  much  of  its  revenues, 
mainly  from  oil  exports,  to  the  military,  including  payments 
to  the  Soviet  Union  for  military  equipment  and  to  Cuba  for 
military  personnel.   The  PRA,  in  response  to  the  generally 


*The  United  States  does  not  recognize  or  maintain  diplomatic 
relations  with  the  People's  Republic  of  Angola  and  has  no 
diplomatic  personnel  in  Angola  to  monitor  human  rights 
conditions  or  evaluate  allegations  of  abuses. 

(1) 


ANGOLA 

critical  economic  situation,  announced  its  intention  to 
institute  some  market-oriented  economic  reforms,  but  by  the 
end  of  1990  little  concrete  progress  had  been  made  in 
implementing  them.   The  expenditure  of  hard  currency  for 
weapons  and  the  disruptive  impact  of  war  on  Angolan 
agriculture,  coupled  with  2  years  of  drought  in  central  and 
southern  Angola,  have  created  chronic  food  shortages  in  both 
the  cities  and  the  countryside. 

The  civil  war  has  resulted  in  widespread  human  rights  abuses 
by  both  sides  and  many  civilian  casualties  throughout  the 
country.   In  1989  the  human  rights  group  Africa  Watch 
estimated  the  total  number  of  civil  war  victims  at  200,000 
Angolans  killed,  more  than  20,000  children  orphaned,  and 
20,000  to  50,000  Angolans  left  as  amputees  due  to  the 
widespread  use  of  land  mines  by  both  sides.   Since  then,  the 
war  has  claimed  more  civilian  casualties,  many  from  starvation 
in  early  1990  as  both  sides  prevented  humanitarian  food  aid 
from  reaching  affected  populations.   In  August  a  United 
Nations  team  reported  that  a  major  famine  was  imminent. 
Spurred  by  growing  international  concern,  the  PRA  and  UNITA 
agreed  in  late  September  to  a  United  Nations  emergency  relief 
plan  to  provide  food  and  other  humanitarian  supplies  to 
civilians  on  both  sides  of  the  conflict.   Cross-line  and 
cross-border  relief  deliveries  began  in  early  November,  with 
the  hope  that  118,000  tons  of  food  would  reach  affected  areas 
during  the  initial  6  months  of  the  program.   On  December  21, 
however,  the  U.N.  temporarily  suspended  its  relief  operations 
after  the  PRA  revoked  its  permission  for  assistance  to  be 
delivered  to  UNITA-held  areas. 

Across-the-board  abuses  of  human  rights  ranged  from  extensive 
violence  against  civilians  and  mistreatment  of  prisoners  to 
arbitrary  detentions,  absence  of  fair  trials,  and  restrictions 
on  freedom  of  speech,  press,  association,  the  right  of 
citizens  to  change  their  government,  and  worker  rights. 

RESPECT  FOR  HUMAN  RIGHTS 

Section  1   Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.  Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

Both  the  PRA  and  UNITA  continued  to  accuse  each  other  of 
extrajudicial  killings,  both  in  combat  areas  and  in  the  form 
of  summary  executions  of  prisoners.   Both  publicly  and 
repeatedly  accused  each  other  of  practicing  terrorism  against 
their  opponents,  including  killing,  torturing  or  maiming 
civilians.   The  fighting  also  resulted  in  civilian  deaths, 
some  of  which  may  have  been  deliberately  perpetrated  by 
opposing  forces  to  intimidate  civilian  populations. 

b.  Disappearance 

There  is  no  information  either  to  confirm  or  to  deny  that 
secret  arrests  or  clandestine  detentions  are  practiced  by  PRA 
security  agencies  or  by  UNITA,  although  each  side  has  accused 
the  other  of  such  practices. 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment 

Allegations  of  torture  and  mistreatment  appear  to  have  some 
basis  in  fact.   In  its  1990  report,  Amnesty  International  (AI) 


ANGOLA 

included  reports  of  PRA  prisoners  tortured  with  electric  shock 
at  Luanda's  Catete  Road  prison  and  the  torture  and  beating  of 
detainees  in  Luanda  and  the  provinces  of  Benguela  and 
Namibe.    Reports  that  UNITA  mistreats  some  prisoners  could 
neither  be  confirmed  nor  disproved. 

d.  Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

Under  laws  enacted  by  the  PRA,  persons  suspected  of  committing 
serious  acts  against  "state  security"  may  be  held  by  the 
Ministry  of  State  Security  without  charge  for  an  initial 
period  of  3  months,  renewable  for  a  further  period  of  3 
months.   Such  detainees  need  not  be  presented  to  a  judge 
within  48  hours  of  their  arrest,  as  stipulated  in  the  Code  of 
Criminal  Procedure  for  persons  suspected  of  other  kinds  of 
crime,  and  apparently  have  no  right  to  challenge  the  grounds 
of  their  detention.   After  6  months  in  detention  without 
charge,  the  detainee  must  be  informed  of  the  accusations,  with 
the  State  Security  Service  either  informing  the  public 
prosecutor  of  the  charges  or  releasing  the  suspect.   Once  the 
case  is  presented  to  the  public  prosecutor,  there  does  not 
appear  to  be  a  specific  time  limit  within  which  a  suspect  must 
be  brought  to  trial. 

The  PRA  has  established  regional  military  councils  throughout 
much  of  Angola.   They  are  responsible  directly  to  President 
dos  Santos  and  have  broad  authority  to  restrict  the  movement 
of  people  and  goods,  to  requisition  people  and  goods  without 
compensation,  and  to  try  crimes  against  "state  security."   The 
PRA  has  also  created  "People's  Vigilance  Brigades"  in  urban 
areas,  whose  powers  are  not  clear  but  which  include  general 
administration  and  "protecting  the  people  and  ensuring  public 
order  and  stability." 

During  1990,  press  accounts  repeated  earlier  allegations  that 
UNITA  has  detained  or  executed  opponents  of  Dr.  Jonas  Savimbi, 
UNITA' s  president.   As  in  previous  years,  these  allegations 
could  not  be  independently  verified. 

The  number  and  breakdown  of  political  detainees  and  criminal 
and  military  prisoners  held  by  both  sides  at  the  end  of  1990 
was  estimated  in  the  thousands.   The  PRA  released  more  than 
700  political  detainees/prisoners  in  1989,  but  made  no 
announcements  about  further  releases  in  1990.   According  to  an 
October  announcement  from  the  National  Association  for  Human 
Rights  in  Namibia,  the  PRA  holds  about  100  South  West  Africa 
People's  Organization  and  Koevoet  prisoners,  as  well  as  UNITA 
supporters . 

e.  Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

Although  the  PRA  Constitution  provides  for  an  independent 
judiciary,  in  practice  the  judiciary  follows  MPLA-PT  party 
guidelines.   The  Constitution  also  states  that  no  citizen 
shall  be  arrested  and  brought  to  trial  except  under  the  terms 
of  the  law,  which  provide  for  a  public  trial  and  the  right  of 
the  accused  to  legal  counsel.   There  is,  however,  insufficient 
information  to  determine  if,  or  to  what  extent,  these  rights 
are  observed  in  practice  in  regular  criminal  and  civil  cases. 

The  deterioration  of  the  security  situation  has  exacerbated 
the  general  decline  in  judicial  safeguards  and  due  process. 
Judicial  lines  of  authority  are  unclear,  especially  since  the 
PRA's  regional  military  councils  have  been  given 
responsibility  for  the  trial  of  offenses  against  "state 


ANGOLA 

security,"  including  "economic  crimes."   It  is  not  known  which 
trials  are  open  to  the  public  and  under  what  rules  of 
procedure  the  various  military  and  civilian  courts  operate. 
The  PRA  Constitution  also  provides  for  a  People's  Supreme 
Court,  but  no  information  is  available  about  its  jurisdiction. 

f.  Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 
Correspondence 

Although  the  Constitution  provides  for  the  inviolability  of 
the  home  and  privacy  of  correspondence,  the  PRA  conducts 
arbitrary  searches  of  homes,  inspects  private  correspondence, 
and  monitors  private  communications. 

g.  Use  of  Excessive  Force  and  Violations  of  Humanitarian 
Law  in  Internal  Conflicts 

The  PRA  military  offensive  launched  in  December  1989  led  to 
intense  fighting  around  Mavinga,  a  UNITA  population  and 
agricultural  center,  during  the  first  4  months  of  the  year. 
UNITA  counterattacked  in  the  northwest  and  sabotaged  Luanda's 
public  water  and  electricity  facilities.   These  military 
actions  extended  the  scope  of  the  war  in  1990  and  inevitably 
created  further  hardships  for  civilians. 

The  Office  of  U.S.  Foreign  Disaster  Assistance  of  the  Agency 
for  International  Development  estimates  that  between  1  and  1.5 
million  persons,  a  substantial  proportion  of  the  Angolan 
population  of  8  to  9  million,  have  been  displaced  internally. 
In  August  the  United  Nations  estimated  that  460,000  displaced 
persons  were  located  in  drought-affected  areas,  but  this 
figure  may  be  substantially  greater.   Many  estimates  range 
closer  to  1  million.   Africa  Watch  reported  that  the  PRA  has 
forcibly  displaced  thousands  of  civilians,  in  part  to  deny 
UNITA  a  social  base,  and  that  UNITA  has  captured  thousands  of 
civilians  and  forced  them  to  work  on  UNITA  farms. 

The  PRA  throughout  much  of  1990  blocked  humanitarian  food 
shipments  into  UNITA-controlled  areas,  but  both  parties  agreed 
in  late  September  to  a  United  Nations  relief  program  which 
will  provide  assistance  to  affected  civilians  on  both  sides  of 
the  conflict.   Prior  to  this  time,  UNITA  actions  had  also 
prevented  food  shipments  into  some  famine-threatened  areas 
under  PRA  control.   In  late  December  the  United  Nations 
temporarily  suspended  its  relief  program  when  the  PRA  revoked 
its  assent  for  deliveries  in  UNITA-held  areas.   The  total 
number  of  civilian  deaths  in  the  civil  war,  due  to  fighting 
and  starvation  caused  by  the  fighting,  may  have  reached 
225,000  by  the  end  of  1990,  but  no  reliable  figures  are 
available . 

The  PRA  and  UNITA  have  accused  each  other  of  placing  land 
mines  in  footpaths  to  agricultural  fields  as  part  of  a 
strategy  to  deny  food  to  civilians  in  contested  areas. 
Thousands  of  civilians  on  both  sides  of  the  conflict  have  lost 
limbs  as  a  result  of  the  widespread  use  of  land  mines. 

Section  2  Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including: 

a.   Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

Although  the  PRA  Constitution  provides  for  freedom  of 
expression,  there  is  censorship,  intimidation,  and  government 
control  of  the  media.   AI  reports  that  a  brewery  worker  is 
serving  a  2-year  sentence  for  a  critical  reference  to  a  senior 


ANGOLA 

police  official  following  the  arrest  of  a  colleague.   The  PRA 
is  especially  sensitive  to  criticism  in  the  foreign  press.   It 
controls  the  travel  of  foreign  correspondents  to  and  within 
Angola,  and  the  circulation  of  foreign  publications  in 
PRA-controlled  Angola  is  tightly  restricted.   Similarly, 
foreign  correspondents  who  have  traveled  in  UNITA-controlled 
Angola  have  been  accompanied  by  UNITA  escorts,  and  there  is  no 
free  press  in  those  areas. 

b.  Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

Although  the  PRA  Constitution  calls  for  freedom  of  assembly, 
it  is  denied  to  any  political  group  or  movement  other  than  the 
MPLA-PT  or  its  associated  mass  organizations.   All  other 
political  movements  are  banned  under  the  current  Constitution 
and  the  formation  of  nonpolitical  civic  groups  has  been  only 
selectively  authorized.   In  July  and  October  meetings  of  the 
Central  Committee  and  at  the  December  Party  Congress,  the  PRA 
made  conditional  commitments  to  a  multiparty  system  and  to 
revising  the  national  Constitution  during  1991. 

c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

Although  the  PRA  Constitution  provides  for  the  inviolability 
of  freedom  of  conscience  and  belief  and  for  separation  of 
church  and  state,  the  authorities  have  been  critical  of 
religious  activities  in  the  past.   Approximately  85  percent  of 
the  Angolan  population  is  either  Roman  Catholic  or  Protestant, 
while  the  remainder  practice  a  variety  of  animist  beliefs. 
The  PRA  has  eased  its  antireligious  stance  but  has  failed  to 
restore  all  church  properties  previously  confiscated  and  has 
often  criticized  religious  leaders'  calls  for  a  multiparty 
political  system.   Church  services  are  held  regularly,  and 
there  is  wide  attendance.   Foreign  and  Angolan  religious 
workers  are  allowed  to  carry  out  normal  activities.   In  1990 
the  PRA  sought  help  from  the  Catholic  Church  to  revive  and 
rebuild  Angola's  educational  system.   UNITA  respects  freedom 
of  religion  in  the  areas  it  controls  and  provides  limited 
administrative  support  to  both  Catholic  and  Protestant 
churches . 

The  PRA  refuses  to  recognize  smaller  religious  sects  that  it 
deems  subversive,  such  as  the  Jehovah's  Witnesses  and  the 
Tocoist  Church,  founded  in  Angola  in  1949,  which  has  a 
syncretic  blend  of  Christian  beliefs  and  indigenous  religious 
practices.   The  PRA  authorities  banned  the  Church  in  1977.   In 
1988,  19  members  of  the  Tocoist  Church  were  convicted  and 
jailed  for  homicide  and  crimes  against  state  security. 

d.  Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

As  a  result  of  the  fighting  and  the  widespread  use  of  land 
mines  by  both  sides,  travel  by  road  in  most  areas  of  Angola  is 
dangerous.   The  Luanda  authorities  are  acutely  sensitive  about 
security  and  have  tightly  restricted  travel.   The  PRA  has  also 
instituted  a  pass  system  within  Angola,  and  foreigners  are 
generally  prohibited  from  traveling  outside  the  principal 
cities.   UNITA  has  publicly  warned  that  it  considers  all  of 
Angola  to  be  a  war  zone  and  that  it  cannot  guarantee  the 
safety  of  persons  traveling  there. 

Some  Angolans  are  allowed  to  travel  abroad,  but  this  travel  is 
carefully  controlled  by  the  PRA's  restrictions  on  issuance  of 
passports  and  exit  visas  and  by  currency  restrictions. 


ANGOLA 

Emigration  is  restricted,  and  the  PRA  limits  travel  to  Angola 
through  a  selective  and  stringent  visa  policy. 

There  was  little  change  in  the  refugee  situation  during  the 
year.   There  are  approximately  9,700  Zairian  refugees  and 
another  1,100  South  African  refugees  in  Angola.   Some  400,000 
Angolan  refugees  are  still  resident  in  neighboring  countries. 
Approximately  300,000  Angolans  are  refugees  in  Zaire,  and  an 
estimated  97,000  are  in  Zambia.   The  developing  famine  in 
southern  Angola,  in  which  at  least  250,000  persons  faced 
immediate  danger  of  starvation  at  the  end  of  1990,  could  force 
a  major  migration  if  relief  efforts  are  not  timely.   Although 
Namibia  is  considered  the  most  likely  haven  for  these 
prospective  refugees,  there  were  no  signs  of  such  forced 
migration  as  the  year  ended. 

From  September  1989  through  March  1990,  the  office  of  the 
United  Nations  High  Commissioner  for  Refugees  repatriatied 
6,213  Angolan  refugees  from  Zaire  and  3,036  Zairians  from 
Angola.   An  estimated  3,000  Angolan  refugees  who  crossed  into 
Namibia  in  early  April  had  returned  to  Angola  by  the  end  of 
June.   Another  35,000  to  40,000  Angolans  are  considered  to  be 
"self-settled"  in  Namibia  by  the  United  Nations  High 
Commissioner  for  Refugees. 

Section  3   Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

Angolans  do  not  have  the  right  to  change  the  PRA  regime.   Most 
of  Angola  is  ruled  by  a  small  group  of  officials  within  the 
party  apparatus,  especially  the  Politburo  and  Central 
Committee  of  the  ruling  MPLA-PT.   The  PRA  Constitution 
provides  for  public  participation  in  the  political  process, 
but  political  activity  in  1990  was  still  limited  to 
participation  in  the  MPLA-PT  or  in  one  of  its  controlled  and 
sanctioned  organizations  such  as  its  youth  wing,  the  Angolan 
Women's  Organization,  or  the  trade  union  movement.   Party 
membership  is  very  restricted,  with  fewer  than  30,000  members, 
largely  urbanized  Mesticos  and  members  of  the  Mbundu  tribe. 

In  October  the  MPLA-PT  announced  its  intent  to  implement  a 
multiparty  system  by  March  1991,  to  revise  the  national 
Constitution,  and  to  hold  multiparty  elections  within  3  years 
after  a  cease-fire  has  been  reached.   Although  the  December 
1990  Party  Congress  ratified  these  decisions,  they  had  not 
been  implemented  before  the  end  of  the  year. 

UNITA  dropped  its  demands  in  1990  to  be  included  in  a 
transitional  government,  but  it  continued  to  insist  on  a  firm 
commitment  to  a  multiparty  system  and  to  free  elections  in 
which  it  could  participate  as  a  legalized  political  party. 

The  PRA  Constitution  provides  for  a  popularly  elected  National 
People's  Assembly,  established  in  1981,  and  people's 
assemblies  at  the  provincial  and  local  levels.   Only 
candidates  chosen  and  endorsed  by  the  MPLA-PT  have  been 
elected.   Key  members  of  the  party  also  hold  leadership 
positions  in  the  provincial  and  local  assemblies, 

Both  the  MPLA-PT  and  UNITA  have  primarily  ethnic  bases  of 
support— the  MPLA-PT  among  the  Mbundu  and  urbanized  Mesticos, 
and  UNITA  among  the  Ovimbundu,  Ganguela,  and  Lunda-Chokwe. 

Although  members  of  all  of  Angola's  ethnic  groups  and 
religions  participate  in  both  organizations,  non-Mbundu  groups 


ANGOLA 

are  greatly  under represented  within  the  MPLA-PT  Central 
Committee  and  Politburo.   Mesticos  (Angolans  of  mixed  racial 
background  numbering  only  about  1  percent  of  the  population) 
remain  the  most  highly  skilled  and  educated  group  in  Angola 
and  are  influential — politically,  culturally,  and 
economically — beyond  their  numbers  in  the  PRA. 

Section  4  Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

The  PRA  has  not  responded  to  various  appeals  for  information 
concerning  numerous  political  detainees,  and  neither  the  PRA 
nor  UNITA  would  let  Africa  Watch  researchers  into  the  country 
in  1989  or  1990.   Both  the  PRA  and  UNITA  have  allowed  various 
organizations  to  provide  food  and  other  humanitarian 
assistance  in  areas  they  control,  but  neither  has  fully 
responded  to  International  Committee  of  the  Red  Cross  requests 
for  access  to  all  persons  arrested  in  connection  with  internal 
events  and  the  military  situation  in  the  country.   In  October 
both  parties  began  to  cooperate  with  United  Nations-sponsored 
efforts  to  deliver  humanitarian  relief  to  victims  of  drought, 
famine,  and  civil  conflict  throughout  central  and  southern 
Angola. 

Section  5  Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

Because  of  the  disturbed  situation  prevailing  in  most  of 
Angola,  there  is  little  information  available  on  the  existence 
or  extent  of  discrimination  on  the  basis  of  race,  sex, 
religion,  language,  or  social  status.   There  is  also  no 
information  available  on  the  extent  of  violence  against  women 
in  Angola. 

Section  6  Worker  Rights 

a.  The  Right  of  Association 

Angolan  workers  do  not  have  the  right  to  form  independent 
trade  unions.   The  sole,  legally  recognized,  trade  union 
organization  in  PRA-administered  Angola  is  the  National  Union 
of  Angolan  Workers  (UNTA) ,  which  was  formed  in  the  late  1950 's 
as  an  appendage  of  the  MPLA-PT  and  became  the  ruling  party's 
official  labor  wing  after  Angolan  independence  in  1975.   The 
preindependence  labor  centers  of  rival  liberation 
organizations  ceased  to  exist  soon  after  the  MPLA-PT  took 
control  of  most  of  the  country.   The  monopoly  situation  of  the 
UNTA  is  ensured  by  the  statutory  basis  of  the  single-union 
structure.   In  addition,  the  activities  of  the  labor  central 
and  its  affiliates  are  tightly  controlled  by  the  MPLA-PT. 
Strikes  are  illegal  and  considered  to  be  a  crime  against 
"state  security."   The  UNTA  is  affiliated  with  the 
continent-wide  Organization  of  African  Trade  Union  Unity  and 
the  Communist-controlled  World  Federation  of  Trade  Unions. 

b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

Workers  do  not  have  the  right  to  bargain  collectively, 
although  the  PRA  has  ratified  Interhational  Labor 'Organization 
(ILO)  Convention  98  on  the  right  to  organize  and  collective 
bargaining.   The  Luanda  regime,  through  its  Ministry  of  Labor 
and  Social  Security,  controls  the  process  of  setting  wages  and 
benefits,  but  it  coordinates  its  actions  with  UNTA  and 
employers.   There  are  no  export  processing  zones  in  Angola. 


ANGOLA 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

Existing  PRA  legislation  authorizes  compulsory  labor  for 
breaches  of  labor  discipline  and  participation  in  strikes.   On 
the  basis  of  this  legislation,  the  ILO  in  1984  first  cited  the 
Luanda  regime  for  being  in  violation  of  ILO  Convention  105, 
which  prohibits  forced  labor.   Again  in  1990  the  ILO  Committee 
of  Experts  cited  the  PRA  for  its  failure  to  bring  its 
legislation  into  conformity  with  Convention  105,  which  the  PRA 
ratified  in  1976.   Both  the  PRA  and  UNITA  accuse  each  other  of 
relying  on  forced  conscription  of  young  males  for  recruitment 
into  the  military  forces. 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

There  is  no  information  available  on  this  subject  apart  from 
the  fact  that  in  1976  the  PRA  ratified  ILO  Convention  6 
governing  night  work  of  young  persons  and  Convention  7 
regarding  the  minimum  age  for  employment  at  sea. 

e.  Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

According  to  a  decree  issued  in  1982,  the  normal  workweek  is 
limited  to  44  hours.   The  workweek  is  limited  to  34  hours  and 
6  days  a  week  for  persons  aged  14  to  16,  and  to  38  hours  and  7 
days  a  week  for  persons  aged  16  to  18.   This  decree  applies  to 
all  state  institutions,  to  state,  semipublic,  private,  and 
cooperative  undertakings,  and  to  mass  and  social  organizations. 

Angola  does  have  a  minimum  wage  rate  system,  but  it  contains 
no  reqiiirement  that  minimum  wages  be  adjusted  as  a  function  of 
cost-of-living  increases.   There  is  no  recent  information 
available  on  current  minimum  wage  rates  or  on  the  extent  of 
their  application. 

The  PRA  has  ratified  none  of  the  ILO's  safety  and  health 
conventions,  although  it  has  ratified  several  conventions 
ensuring  compensation  to  workers  who  suffer  from  occupational 
injuries  or  diseases.   No  information  is  available  on  the 
existence  or  adequacy  of  national  occupational  health  and 
safety  standards  nor  on  actual  practice  with  respect  to  any 
labor  standards. 


BENIN 


In  the  Republic  of  Benin  in  1990,  the  single-party, 
military-dominated  regime,  which  had  been  in  place  for  the 
past  17  years,  came  to  an  end.   Widespread  public  discontent 
with  the  old  regime,  which  manifested  itself  in  1989  in 
strikes  and  demonstrations,  reached  a  climax  at  the  beginning 
of  the  year.   In  February  a  National  Reform  Conference  voted 
to  set  the  country  on  a  democratic,  multiparty  course. 
Although  President  Mathieu  Kerekou  remained  the  Chief  of  State 
during  1990,  the  Government  was  directed  by  a  civilian 
transition  team  led  by  Prime  Minister  Nicephore  Soglo,  who  was 
chosen  by  the  February  Conference.   A  22-member  High  Council 
of  the  Republic  acted  as  the  interim  parliamentary  arm.   Some 
24  political  parties  were  founded  during  1990  and  actively 
prepared  to  contest  March  1991  legislative  and  presidential 
elections.   A  new  Constitution  was  approved  by  referendum  on 
December  2.   Local  mayoral  elections  were  held  in  November. 

Benin's  armed  forces  number  approximately  6,000  personnel  and 
are  under  the  direction  of  the  civilian  Prime  Minister,  who  is 
also  Minister  of  Defense.   In  addition  to  the  regular  army, 
there  are  small  navy,  air  force,  and  national  gendarmerie 
contingents.   The  once  dominant  Beninese  military  maintained  a 
low  profile  in  1990.   The  Beninese  militia  was  formally 
dissolved  in  June.   A  national  conference  on  military 
restructuring  transferred  control  of  the  police,  customs 
forces,  and  foresters  to  civilian  ministries  in  April.   The 
Government  also  decreed  that  soldiers  could  disobey  a 
superior's  order  if  that  order  would  lead  to  a  violation  of 
human  rights.   Prime  Minister  Soglo  has  called  for  a 
professional,  depoliticized  military  oriented  toward  civic 
action,  development,  and  antismuggling  controls. 

Benin's  underdeveloped  economy  is  largely  based  on  subsistence 
agriculture,  cotton  production,  regional  trade,  and  small- 
scale  offshore  oil  production.   In  accordance  with  World  Bank 
and  International  Monetary  Fund  agreements,  Benin  has 
undertaken  a  number  of  austerity  reforms,  including 
elimination  of  many  state-owned  corporations,  reduction  of 
fiscal  expenditure,  deregulation  of  trade,  and  expansion  of 
the  private  sector.   Despite  these  measures,  Benin's  small 
modern  economy  remained  depressed  in  1990  due  to  falling  world 
prices  for  local  exports,  high  debt  service  charges,  and 
widespread  unemployment . 

In  Benin,  1990  was  a  watershed  year  for  human  rights.   The 
transition  Government  released  all  remaining  political 
prisoners  in  March,  encouraged  freedom  of  expression, 
facilitated  the  return  of  Beninese  political  exiles  to 
participate  in  the  reform  process,  and  oversaw  the  development 
of  a  new  Constitution  that  provides  for  many  human  rights 
safeguards,  including  a  prohibition  of  torture.   The 
Government  also  invited  several  international  monitoring 
organizations  to  Benin  during  the  year;  welcomed  in  March  the 
formation  of  a  nongovernmental  monitoring  organization,  the 
National  Human  Rights  Commission;  and  assisted  a  newly  formed 
association  of  former  political  prisoners,  which  sponsored  a 
human  rights  forum  in  May.   In  general,  the  transition 
Government  committed  itself  to  establish  a  solid  legal 
foundation  in  support  of  human  rights  during  the  period 
leading  to  national  elections  which,  if  fully  implemented, 
will  signifcantly  enhance  the  respect  for  human  rights  in 
Benin. 


10 


BENIN 

RESPECT  FOR  HUMAN  RIGHTS 

Section  1  Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.  Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

There  were  no  reports  of  political  or  other  extrajudicial 
killings  in  1990. 

b.  Disappearance 

There  were  no  reports  of  disappearance  in  1990. 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment 

The  new  Constitution  forbids  torture  and  cruel,  inhuman,  or 
degrading  treatment,  and  there  were  no  reports  of  torture  or 
inhuman  punishment  in  1990.   Public  attention  focused  on  past 
incidents  of  torture.   In  April  the  media  gave  heavy  coverage 
to  former  political  prisoners  and  presented  detailed  reports 
on  their  mistreatment.   The  official  government  radio 
discussed  the  case  of  Remy  Akpopo  Glele,  a  "prisoner  of 
conscience"  championed  by  Amnesty  International  (AI). 
Television  interviews  with  former  prisoners  shocked  viewers 
with  camera  close-ups  of  scarring  and  disfigurement  caused  by 
torture. 

Civilian  prison  conditions  in  Benin  remained  very  poor. 
Sanitation  and  medical  facilities  are  deficient,  and  the 
prison  diet  is  grossly  inadequate.   In  July  the  official  state 
newspaper  published  an  expose  of  scpjalid  prison  conditions  at 
the  Athieme  prison,  citing  severe  overcrowding,  structural 
faults,  and  inadequate  medical  care. 

d.  Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

There  were  no  reports  of  arbitrary  arrest  or  detention  in 
1990.   The  democratic  Reform  Conference  led  directly  to  a 
general  amnesty  in  March  for  the  44  remaining  political 
detainees.   A  visiting  AI  team  in  May  noted  that  there  were  no 
remaining  political  prisoners  in  Benin. 

On  March  6,  President  Kerekou  signed  a  decree  permitting 
political  exiles  to  return  to  Benin  without  restrictions  or 
fear  of  reprisal.   The  decree  also  returned  all  previously 
confiscated  property  to  the  exiles.   Following  promulgation  of 
the  decree,  many  exiles  returned  to  Benin.   One  of  the  most 
celebrated  of  the  returnees  was  Lieutenant  Colonel  Francois 
Kouyami ,  former  head  of  the  security  service.   Imprisoned  in 
1988  for  supporting  a  coup  attempt  against  President  Kerekou, 
Kouyami  later  escaped  and  fled  to  Nigeria.   He  returned  to 
Benin  on  April  14.   The  new  Constitution  includes  a  provision 
which  specifically  prohibits  the  Government  from  exiling  any 
Beninese  citizen. 

e.  Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

Benin's  legal  system  is  based  on  French  civil  and  local 
customary  law.   A  civilian  court  system  operates  on  the 
provincial  and  national  levels.   Defendants  have  the  right  to 
be  present  at  their  trial  and  the  right  to  an  attorney  (at 
public  expense,  if  neccesary) .   Under  the  new  Constitution, 
the  highest  courts  are  the  Constitutional  Court  and  the 


11 


BENIN 

Supreme  Court.   In  theory,  the  Constitutional  Court  will  judge 
the  constitutionality  of  Beninese  laws,  monitor  human  rights 
in  the  legal  system,  and  act  as  a  counterbalance  to  other 
branches  of  the  Government. 

The  Supreme  Court  has  ultimate  jurisdiction  over  all  other 
administrative  and  judicial  matters,  and  is  the  final  recourse 
in  all  legal  cases.   The  new  Constitution  also  provides  for  a 
special  High  Court  of  Justice  to  preside  over  cases  of  high 
treason  or  crimes  committed  against  the  nation  by  government 
officials.   The  Reform  Conference  officially  condemned  and 
terminated  the  old  regime's  practice  of  assigning  political 
appointees,  so-called  nonprofessional  judges,  to  judicial 
positions . 

f.   Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 
Correspondence 

The  Constitution  provides  for  the  inviolability  of  the  home 
and  requires  that  police  obtain  a  warrant  from  a  judge  before 
entering  a  residence.   No  violations  were  reported  in  1990. 

Section  2  Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including: 

a.  Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

The  new  Constitution  provides  for  freedom  of  expression  and  of 
the  press  and  other  media.   During  1990  the  Beninese  freely 
discussed  politics  in  public  and  private  forums.   The 
Government  continued  to  own  and  operate  the  local  radio  and 
television  stations  and  1  daily  newspaper,  but  more  than  18 
independent  private  newpapers,  representing  a  wide  variety  of 
viewpoints,  made  their  media  debut.   La  Croix,  a  weekly  paper 
published  by  the  Catholic  church,  and  Eco-Magazine,  a  monthly 
journal  of  opinion,  circulated  throughout  West  Africa.   In  the 
past,  the  official  media  carried  stories  approved  by  and 
serving  the  interests  of  the  State.   In  1990  media  criticism 
of  government  policies  became  common,  with  candid  political 
debate  dominating  the  independent  press. 

Under  the  new  policy  of  governmental  openness,  the  official 
media  were  also  given  considerable  leeway  to  criticize  the 
Government  directly.   The  press  and  television  aired  widely 
diverging  views  on  the  constitutional  referendum  and  reported 
on  all  political  parties,  including  the  Communist  Party  of 
Dahomey,  which  had  been  banned  under  the  previous  regime. 

Local  television,  radio,  and  press  also  played  a  major  role 
in  revealing  past  human  rights  abuses,  including  torture  (see 
Section  I.e.). 

There  was  no  censorship  of  foreign  books  or  artistic  works. 
Foreign  periodicals  were  widely  available  on  newsstands,  and 
much  of  the  population  listened  to  foreign  broadcasts  on 
shortwave  radio.   Foreign  radio  broadcasts  were  not  jammed. 
In  general,  academic  freedom  is  enjoyed  by  the  schools  and 
Benin's  sole  university.   University  professors  are  permitted 
to  lecture  freely  in  their  subject  areas,  conduct  research, 
draw  independent  conclusions,  and  form  unions. 

b.  Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

In  1990  the  transition  Government  permitted  the  formation  of  a 
large  number  of  political,  service,  professional,  and  other 
organizations.   A  multiparty  charter  signed  on  August  13 


12 


BENIN 

authorized  the  registration  of  independent  political  parties 
and  outlined  the  implementation  of  democratic  principles  in 
political  life  (see  Section  3). 

c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

Christianity,  Islam,  and  traditional  religions  coexist  in 
Benin,  and  adherence  to  a  particular  faith  does  not  confer  any 
special  status  or  benefit.   There  are  no  restrictions  on 
religious  ceremonies,  teachings,  foreign  clergy,  or  conversion 
to  any  religion. 

d.  Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

Domestic  movement  is  unrestricted.   In  1990  the  Government 
dismantled  police  and  gendarmerie  roadblocks  to  facilitate 
free  movement.   Passport  and  exit  permits  needed  for  travel 
outside  of  West  African  countries  are  not  difficult  to 
obtain.   Emigration  is  common.   Beninese  live  and  work  in 
neighboring  countries  without  jeopardizing  their  citizenship. 

Benin  welcomes  all  refugees  and  helps  them  integrate  into 
Beninese  society  if  they  choose  not  to  return  to  their  country 
of  origin.   Benin's  refugee  population  declined  in  1990, 
reflecting  continued  voluntary  repatriation.   According  to  the 
United  Nations  High  Commissioner  for  Refugees  (UNHCR) , 
identified  refugees  in  Benin  numbered  611  in  July.   Of  these, 
582  were  Chadians  who  had  fled  the  fighting  in  their  country. 
Although  some  have  chosen  to  settle  in  Benin,  many  returned  to 
Chad  with  the  help  of  the  UNHCR.   The  Government  imposes  no 
restriction  on  the  return  of  refugees. 

Section  3  Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

During  17  years  of  authoritarian,  single-party  rule,  the 
Beninese  were  unable  to  change  their  government.   However,  in 
1990  the  transition  Government  laid  the  groundwork  for 
multiparty  democracy  in  which  citizens  should  be  able  to 
select  and  change  their  government  through  election.   The 
National  Reform  Conference  denounced  the  former  single-party 
system  and  called  for  a  political  system  based  on  the  rule  of 
law  and  democratic  pluralism.   The  Reform  Conference  organized 
a  transition  government  comprised  mainly  of  technocrats  and 
set  a  12-month  timetable  for  free  national  elections. 

A  multiparty  charter  signed  into  law  on  August  13  authorized 
the  formation  of  independent  political  parties  and  defined  the 
regulations  for  founding  and  organizing  political  parties. 
Special  attention  was  given  to  regional  representation  in 
parties.   The  charter  mandates  that  a  party's  membership  must 
be  national  in  scope  and  not  limited  to  any  particular 
geographic  area,  ethnic  group,  or  religion.   The  charter  also 
directs  all  parties  to  defend  democracy,  national  sovereignty, 
fundamental  liberties,  and  individual  rights.   The  charter 
declares  illegal  any  party  which  does  not  respect  fundamental 
human  rights  and  bans  parties  espousing  violence  in  any  form. 
Upon  registration  with  the  Ministry  of  the  Interior,  political 
parties  may  establish  a  headquarters,  organize  activities,  and 
publish  materials.   By  the  end  of  1990,  some  24  political 
parties  had  been  formed.   The  former  single  party,  the 
People's  Revolutionary  Party  of  Benin,  was  formally  dissolved 
on  April  30.   The  first  national  legislative  and  presidential 
elections  are  scheduled  for  February  and  March  1991. 


13 


BENIN 

The  drafting  of  a  new  constitution  was  a  stated  primary  goal 
of  the  transition  Government.   Approved  in  a  national 
referendum  in  December,  Benin's  new  Constitution  proclaims  the 
principle  of  "government  of  the  people,  by  the  people,  for  the 
people."   It  declares  that  the  Beninese  State  is  based  on  the 
rule  of  law  and  democratic  pluralism,  in  which  human  rights, 
individual  liberties,  and  justice  for  all  are  guaranteed.   The 
Constitution  empowers  the  Beninese  freely  to  elect  their 
leaders  and  representatives  and  to  exercise  sovereignty 
through  popular  ref erendums .   The  document  grants  universal 
suffrage  to  all  Beninese  over  the  age  of  18.   The  Constitution 
further  grants  an  elected  president — who  will  lead  the 
Government — a  5-year  term,  renewable  only  once.   An  extensive 
system  of  checks  and  balances  among  the  executive, 
legislative,  and  judicial  branches  is  set  in  the  new 
Constitution. 

Section  4  Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

In  the  past,  the  Government  had  discouraged  the  operation  of 
independent  local  human  rights  groups.   However,  on  March  30, 
a  45-member  nongovernmental  Hvunan  Rights  Commission  became 
active.   Conceived  as  an  internal  monitoring  organization,  the 
Commission  as  well  as  the  Government  stress  this  group's 
independence  from  the  State.   As  its  primary  goal,  the 
Commission  seeks  to  promote  and  safeguard  human  rights  in 
Benin  through  close  study  of  national  and  international  human 
rights  conventions,  investigation  of  alleged  human  rights 
violations,  and  implementation  of  national  educational 
campaigns  on  human  rights.   Other  private  groups,  including 
the  African  Jurists  Association  and  the  Association  of  Former 
Prisoners  and  Victims  of  Repression,  specifically  concern 
themselves  with  human  rights  issues. 

Before  1990,  the  Government  considered  proposed  investigations 
of  human  rights  practices  by  outside  groups  to  be  unwarranted 
interference  in  internal  Beninese  affairs.   However,  the 
transition  Government  facilitated  several  international 
investigations  of  human  rights  in  the  past  year,  including,  in 
July  by  the  West  German  Parlicimentary  Subcommittee  for  Human 
Rights  and  an  International  Committee  of  the  Red  Cross 
delegation.   A  team  from  AI  visited  Benin  in  May  and 
subsequently  congratulated  Prime  Minister  Soglo  and  the 
transition  Government  for  the  progress  in  respecting  human 
rights  in  Benin. 

Section  5  Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

Discrimination  based  on  the  above  factors  is  prohibited  in  the 
new  Constitution  and  by  law,  and  there  is  no  evidence  of 
officially  sanctioned  discrimination.   In  August  the  High 
Council  of  the  Republic  ratified  the  U.N.  Convention  on  the 
Elimination  of  Discrimination  against  Women.   It  also  ratified 
U.N.  Covenants  on  Civil  and  Political  Rights  and  on  Economic, 
Social,  and  Cultural  Rights. 

The  new  Constitution  states  that  women  are  by  law  the  equals 
of  men  in  the  political,  economic,  cultural,  and  social 
spheres,  and  the  Government  officially  encourages 
opportunities  for  women.   However,  while  Beninese  women  play  a 
major  role  in  the  commercial  sector,  in  rural  areas  they  have 
traditionally  occupied  a  subordinate  role  and,  in  particular. 


14 


BENIN 

have  not  enjoyed  the  same  educational  opportunities  as  men. 

While  no  studies  are  available,  violence  against  women, 
including  wife  beating,  occurs,  although  it  is  prohibited  in 
the  newly  revised  family  code.   Civil  penalties  may  be  applied 
in  cases  of  domestic  violence,  but  the  police  and  courts  are 
often  reluctant  to  intervene,  considering  such  affairs  to  be 
"family  matters . " 

According  to  several  local  medical  practitioners,  the  practice 
of  female  circumcision  is  not  widespread  in  Benin.   However, 
published  reports  in  the  United  States  suggest  that  about  20 
percent  of  the  female  population  is  subject  to  this  practice, 
mostly  in  the  northern  part  of  the  country.   The  Government  is 
making  efforts  to  eradicate  this  practice  through  an 
educational  campaign  conducted  by  government  health  workers, 
and  there  are  signs  that  the  practice  is  diminishing. 

Section  6  Worker  Rights 

a.  The  Right  of  Association 

The  new  Constitution  provides  for  the  freedom  to  organize,  to 
meet,  and  to  strike,  and  the  Ministry  of  Justice  is  working 
with  local  legal  experts  to  revise  and  update  a  number  of 
laws,  including  the  labor  code.   Approximately  75  percent  of 
wage  earners  belong  to  organized  labor  unions.   Labor  was  a 
driving  force  in  a  14-month  national  general  strike  that 
paralyzed  the  country  and  largely  precipitated  February's 
national  democratic  reform  actions.   In  March  the  unions  ended 
the  general  strike  and  lent  support  to  the  democratization 
process . 

Until  February  the  only  legally  recognized  trade  union 
federation  in  the  country  was  the  National  Workers'  Union  of 
Benin  (UNSTB) ,  which  was  closely  linked  to  the  Government  and 
the  ruling  party  with  its  long-held  Marxist/Leninist 
philosophy.   Anticipating  the  February  reforms,  the  UNSTB 
declared  its  independence  from  the  political  party  in 
January.   In  March  the  UNSTB  voted  to  break  its  affiliation 
with  the  Communist-controlled  World  Federation  of  Trade 
Unions.   The  UNSTB  currently  represents  42  of  Benin's  80  trade 
unions.   The  remaining  38  declared  themselves  independent  and 
began  to  form  other  independent  trade  union  federations. 
Unions  are  free  to  join  international  labor  organizations. 

b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

The  Beninese  Labor  Code  provides  for  collective  bargaining. 
Individual  labor  unions  are  authorized  to  negotiate  with 
employers  on  labor  matters  and  represent  workers'  grievances 
to  both  employers  and  to  the  Government,  with  the  Government 
often  voluntarily  acting  as  arbitrator.   Unions  in  the 
education,  hotel,  and  petroleum  sectors  exercised  these  rights 
frequently  during  the  year,  entering  into  productive 
negotiation  with  employers.   The  Labor  Code  prohibits 
employers  from  taking  union  membership  or  activity  into 
account  when  making  decisions  on  hiring,  work  distribution, 
professional  or  vocational  training,  or  dismissals.   There  are 
as  yet  no  export  processing  zones.   Labor  laws  and  practice 
are  the  same  throughout  the  country. 


15 


BENIN 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

Forced  or  compulsory  labor  is  prohibited  by  Article  3  of  the 
Labor  Code  and  is  not  practiced. 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

The  Labor  Code  prohibits  the  employment  or  apprenticeship  of 
children  under  the  age  of  18  in  any  enterprise.   However, 
enforcement  by  inspectors  from  the  Ministry  of  Labor  and 
Social  Affairs  is  erratic,  and  child  labor  does  occur, 
especially  in  rural  areas.   Some  child  labor  occurs  in  urban 
areas,  primarily  in  the  informal  sector.   For  example,  street 
vendors  of  newspapers,  smuggled  petroleum  products,  and 
foodstuffs  are  frequently  under  the  age  of  16.   Children  below 
the  age  of  14  often  work  on  family  farms. 

e.  Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

Benin's  labor  force  of  2.0  million  (out  of  a  population  of  4.7 
million)  is  primarily  employed  in  agriculture  (80  percent), 
with  less  than  2  percent  of  the  population  involved  in  the 
industrial  (wage)  sector.   For  the  wage  sector,  the  labor  code 
establishes  a  40-hour  workweek  and  sets  a  minimum  wage  of 
approximately  $40  per  month.   The  minimum  wage  level  is 
sufficent  to  provide  only  rudimentary  food  and  housing  for  a 
family  and  must  be  supplemented  by  subsistence  farming  or 
petty  trade  in  the  informal  sector  if  a  family  is  to  enjoy  a 
decent  living.   The  Government  supports  policies  designed  to 
improve  the  conditions  of  workers  in  both  the  agricultural  and 
industrial  sectors.   For  example,  it  has  declared  its  intent 
to  provide  free  or  low-cost  medical  care  and  social  services. 
Stringent  occupational  health  and  safety  standards  have 
already  been  established  in  the  Labor  Code.   The  Ministry  of 
Labor  and  Social  Affairs  is  responsible  for  enforcement  of 
labor  laws  and  regulations,  but  a  number  of  factors,  including 
a  lack  of  inspectors  and  high  unemployment,  have  resulted  in 
erratic  enforcement. 


16 


BOTSWANA 


Botswana  is  a  multiparty  democracy.   The  Constitution  vests 
executive  power  in  the  President,  currently  Quett  K.  J. 
Masire,  who  was  reelected  in  1989  for  a  second  full  5-year 
term.   The  President  selects  the  Cabinet  from  the  unicameral 
National  Assembly.   While  there  are  several  active  political 
parties  in  Botswana,  in  practice  the  country's  politics  are 
dominated  by  the  ruling  Botswana  Democratic  Party  (BDP) .   All 
citizens,  including  whites,  are  free  to  participate  fully  in 
the  economic  and  political  life  of  Botswana. 

Botswana's  army,  the  Botswana  Defense  Force  (BDF) ,  consists  of 
5,200  soldiers.   The  National  Police  Force  numbers  about 
2,900.   Both  the  BDF  and  the  police  are  subordinate  to 
civilian  authority.   Expansion  of  the  army  has  continued,  even 
though  the  justification  of  incursions  by  the  South  African 
Defense  Force  (SADF)  against  suspected  African  National 
Congress  (ANC)  targets  in  Botswana  has  been  partially  eclipsed 
by  events  in  South  Africa.   Since  1989  the  army  has  taken  a 
lower  profile  in  internal  security  operations  but  was  a  target 
of  criticism  in  1990  over  two  shootings  that  claimed  civilian 
lives:   one  at  a  security  checkpoint,  the  second  near  a 
military  facility.   In  response  to  the  public  outcry  over 
these  shootings,  the  BDF  changed  its  rules  of  engagement  to 
require  stricter  grounds  for  suspicion  before  opening  fire. 

Botswana  has  a  mixed  economy  and  strongly  encourages  private 
enterprise.   Fueled  by  the  development  of  mineral  resources, 
especially  diamonds,  the  country's  economy  has  grown  at  a 
rapid  rate  with  real  gross  domestic  product  (GDP)  growth 
averaging  almost  9  percent  annually  since  1980.   Since 
independence  in  1966,  per  capita  GDP  has  increased  from  $69  to 
approximately  $2,000  in  1989.   This  is  statistically  illusory, 
however,  since  some  75  percent  of  Botswana's  population  lives 
in  rural  areas  and  remains  largely  dependent  for  its 
livelihood  on  subsistence  farming  and  animal  husbandry. 

Botswana's  laws  provide  for  a  broad  range  of  individual  rights 
and  freedoms  which,  in  general,  are  observed  in  practice. 
However,  women  face  significant  legal  and  practical 
discrimination.   Violence  against  women  is  an  issue  of 
increasing  concern.   Although  offenders  are  sometimes 
penalized,  police  beatings  of  detainees  remained  a  problem. 
Legal  restrictions  on  trade  unions  were  also  a  continuing 
problem,  but  Parliament  was  debating  labor  law  reform  at 
year's  end.   A  rare  occurrence  of  politically  related  violence 
occurred  in  August  when  9  people  were  injured  in  clashes 
between  police  and  opposition  supporters  protesting  a 
by-election  loss. 

RESPECT  FOR  HUMAN  RIGHTS 

Section  1  Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.   Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

There  were  no  reported  killings  instigated  either  by  the 
Government  or  opposition  groups.   The  last  casualty  resulting 
from  South  African  incursions  against  suspected  ANC  targets 
occurred  in  1988,  but  a  still  unsolved  murder  in  April  1990  of 
an  Asian  merchant  and  his  family  jn^iay  have  been  linked  to  the 
political  conflicts  in  South  Africa. 


17 


BOTSWANA 


b.  Disappearance 

There  were  no  reports  of  politically  motivated  disappearances. 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment. 

There  are  continuing  credible  reports  that  police  occasionally 
beat  suspects  and  detainees,  although  the  practice  is  not 
routine  and  has  been  condemned  by  the  Minister  of  Presidential 
Affairs  and  the  Police  Commissioner.   Police  officers  who  are 
found  to  have  abused  suspects  are  subject  to  both  internal 
disciplinary  procedures  and  criminal  prosecution.   Attorneys, 
however,  find  that  allegations  of  beatings  against  police  are 
difficult  to  prove  in  practice.   They  state  that  if  police 
beat  suspects,  they  ensure  suspects  are  detained  for  the  full 
48  hours  allowed  by  law  before  arraignment,  so  that  marks  can 
heal.   Nonetheless,  three  policemen  were  convicted  and  were 
given  prison  terms  of  9  and  18  months  in  August  1990  for 
torturing  a  suspect.   Minister  of  Presidential  Affairs  Merafhe 
also  recently  revealed  to  Parliament  that  in  1988,  13 
policemen  were  disciplined  for  maltreatment  of  arrestees. 
Police  also  have  been  successfully  sued  in  civil  court  for 
abusing  arrestees.   For  example,  in  February  a  businesswoman 
won  a  suit  dating  to  1986  for  mistreatment. 

There  were  no  reports  in  1990  of  women  being  raped  or 
subjected  to  other  abuses  while  in  custody.   Flogging  is 
commonly  used  as  a  sentence  for  men  for  a  variety  of  offenses, 
including  violation  of  prison  rules,  rape,  armed  robbery, 
burglary,  and  related  offenses. 

d.  Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

Citizens  are  protected  from  arbitrary  arrest  under  the 
Constitution.   In  most  cases,  police  have  48  hours  after  an 
arrest  within  which  the  suspect  must  be  charged  before  a 
magistrate.   Once  a  suspect  has  appeared  before  a  magistrate, 
he  or  she  may  be  detained  only  if  the  magistrate  issues  a  writ 
of  detention,  which  is  valid  for  14  days  and  renewable  every 
14  days  thereafter.   There  are  complaints  that  police  and 
rangers  from  the  Department  of  Wildlife  sometimes  hold  people 
longer  than  the  prescribed  48  hours,  but  it  is  not  a  general 
practice,  and  offending  officers  on  occasion  have  been 
punished  or  sued  successfully  in  civil  actions.   There  were  no 
reported  examples  of  excessive  detention  in  1990. 

These  detention  provisions  do  not  apply  to  those  suspected  of 
being  illegal  immigrants  (generally  Zimbabweans  or  Zambians), 
who  are  often  held  for  up  to  2  weeks  before  being  charged  or 
deported.   Under  an  infrequently  used  provision,  the 
Constitution  allows  the  President  to  declare  a  person  a 
prohibited  immigrant  and  deport  him  from  the  country.   No 
explanation  is  required  nor  is  any  normally  given,  and  the 
order  is  not  subject  to  judicial  review.   A  prohibited 
immigrant  can  reenter  Botswana  only  with  the  permission  of  the 
President  or  his  designated  representative.   A  Zambian 
journalist  who  had  written  articles  critical  of  Zambian 
President  Kaunda  for  a  Botswana  newspaper  was  deported  in 
September,  the  first  case  under  this  provision  since  early 
1989. 

Additionally,  persons  charged  under  the  National  Security  Act 
(NSA)  must  be  arraigned  before  a  magistrate  within  96  hours. 


36-976  0-91-2 


18 


BOTSWANA 

and  suspects  may  be  held  indefinitely.   However,  this  Act  has 
been  rarely  invoked  and  was  not  applied  in  1990.   There  is  a 
functioning  system  of  bail,  and  detainees  have  the  right  to 
hire  attorneys  of  their  choice  at  every  stage,  although  there 
is  no  functioning  system  of  public  defenders  for  those  unable 
to  afford  a  lawyer.   There  is  also  no  practice  of  incommunicado 
detention  in  Botswana.   However,  Botswana  is  not  a  signatory 
to  the  1963  Vienna  Convention  on  consular  relations  and  does 
not  always  promptly  or  automatically  notify  embassies  when 
foreign  citizens  are  detained  or  arrested. 

e.  Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

Botswana's  judiciary  is  independent  of  the  executive  and 
legislative  branches  of  government  in  both  law  and  practice. 
Botswana  has  two  court  systems,  the  regular  courts  and  the 
customary  (traditional)  courts.   In  the  regular  courts,  a 
defendant's  right  to  due  process  is  provided  for  by  law  and 
largely  honored  in  practice,  although  many  defendants  are  not 
apprised  of  their  rights  in  pretrial  or  trial  proceedings. 
Most  trials  are  held  in  public,  and  court  records  are  public. 
However,  trials  under  the  National  Security  Act  may  be  held  in 
secret.   As  a  rule,  courts  only  appoint  public  defenders  for 
those  charged  with  capital  crimes  (murder  and  treason); 
lawyers  in  these  cases  serve  on  a  pro  bono  basis.   Thus,  those 
charged  with  noncapital  crimes  are  often  tried  without  legal 
representation  if  they  cannot  afford  an  attorney.   Defendants 
may  confront  witnesses  and  present  evidence. 

Customary  courts  usually  handle  land,  marital,  and  property 
disputes  as  well  as  minor  crimes.   There  are  clearly  defined 
appeal  procedures  with  separate  courts  of  appeal  in  both 
systems,  as  well  as  the  possibility  of  appeals  to  the  High 
Court.   Customary  courts  are  open  only  to  members  of  a  tribe. 
The  tribal  chief  presides  over  the  court,  and  there  are  no 
attorneys  for  either  side. 

There  were  no  political  prisoners  in  Botswana  at  the  end  of 
1990  . 

f .  Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 
Correspondence . 

These  rights  are  safeguarded  by  law,  and  privacy  in  family 
matters  is  respected.   Although  search  warrants  are  required 
of  ordinary  policemen,  Botswana  law  allows  police  of  the  rank 
of  sergeant  and  above  to  enter  a  building  and  seize  evidence 
provided  they  believe  "on  reasonable  grounds"  that  criminal 
activity  is  involved  and  that  the  evidence  is  later  brought 
before  a  magistrate.   In  practice,  this  means  that  seizures  of 
property  are  frequently  made  without  resort  to  search 
warrants,  especially  because  many  members  of  the  public  are 
unaware  of  legal  requirements.   Such  evidence  can  be 
admissible  in  courts  although  some  judges  disqualify  it. 
There  is  no  evidence  of  arbitrary  surveillance  of  persons  or 
their  communications. 

Section  2  Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including: 

a.   Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

Freedom  of  speech  and  press  are  provided  for  in  the 
Constitution  and  are  respected  in  practice.   Opposition 
viewpoints  and  criticism  of  the  Government  are  freely 
expressed.   At  least  once  in  1990,  the  police  attempted  to 


19 


BOTSWANA 

videotape  political  rallies,  but  the  ensuing  public  criticism 
led  to  a  halt  in  the  practice. 

Although  the  Botswana  Press  Agency  (BOPA)  is  part  of  the 
Department  of  Information  and  Broadcasting,  it  functions  with 
a  great  deal  of  autonomy,  and  its  editorials  do  not  always 
reflect  the  Government's  view.   Both  the  Government  and  the 
independent  press  follow  unwritten  rules  against  criticizing 
senior  officials  directly  or  discussing  the  personal  lives  or 
financial  affairs  of  important  figures.   In  addition,  access 
to  government  officials  is  difficult  for  the  independent 
press,  as  civil  servants  prefer  the  "tame"  reporters  from 
BOPA.   While  opposition  party  meetings  and  statements  receive 
press  coverage  in  both  government  and  independent  media,  the 
government  media  tend  to  give  more  space  to  ruling  party 
viewpoints.   The  independent  press  tends  to  present  more 
balanced  coverage.   In  one  1990  instance,  opposition  members 
ejected  government  media  reporters  from  a  political  rally. 

In  the  past,  the  Government  has  clashed  with  the  independent 
press  over  the  proper  reporting  of  national  security  issues. 
There  were,  however,  no  cases  in  1990  where  such  reporting  was 
contested. 

Books  and  publications  are  not  censored.   Academic  freedom  is 
respected. 

b.  Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

Botswana  has  a  long  history  of  peaceful  assembly  which  is 
integral  to  traditional  village  life  and  is  exemplified  in  the 
village  meeting,  the  kgotla.   During  kgotla  meetings,  people 
freely  question  leaders  and  voice  opinions  on  local  politics. 
Permits  are  required  for  public  meetings  and  demonstrations 
and  are  usually  granted  as  long  as  the  police  believe  public 
order  will  be  maintained. 

c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

Freedom  of  religion  is  practiced  and  encouraged.   There  is  no 
state  religion  in  Botswana,  although  the  majority  of  the 
population  claim  a  denomination  of  Christianity.   Active 
groups  of  Hindus,  Muslims,  Baha'is,  and  others  practice  their 
faiths  freely.   There  are  no  restrictions  on  religious  groups, 
places  of  worship,  the  training  of  members  of  clergy, 
religious  publishing,  religious  education,  conversion  or 
participation  in  charitable  activity.   Missionaries  are 
allowed  to  enter  the  country  and  proselytize,  and  foreign 
clergy  can  enter  and  serve  expatriate  congregations.   There  is 
no  discrimination  based  on  religion. 

d.  Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

Botswana  has  no  restrictions  on  movement  within  the  country, 
on  foreign  travel,  emigration,  or  the  right  to  return. 
Passports  are  easily  obtained. 

Refugees  documented  by  the  United  Nations  High  Commissioner 
for  Refugees  (UNHCR)  are  readily  accepted  into  Botswana  but 
are  required  to  live  in  the  refugee  settlement  at  Dukwe . 
Refugees  may  be  authorized  to  live  elsewhere  for  documented 
reasons.   Due  to  past  allegations  from  neighboring  countries 
that  refugees  were  using  Botswana  as  a  launching  area  for 
subversive  operations  against  their  home  countries,  Botswana 


20 


BOTSWANA 

has  declared  that  Dukwe  refugees  found  off  the  settlement 
without  permission  will  be  considered  to  have  abandoned 
refugee  status  and  will  be  repatriated. 

The  few  remaining  Zimbabwean  refugees  lost  their  refugee 
status  in  July  1989  when  the  UNHCR  and  the  Governments  of 
Botswana  and  Zimbabwe  invoked  the  cessation  clause  of  the  U.N. 
Convention  on  Refugees,  but  the  Government  allowed  those  who 
were  studying,  working,  or  otherwise  eligible  for  Botswana 
citizenship  to  remain.   In  the  end,  some  100  to  150  former 
refugees  who  did  not  fit  into  the  above  categories  were 
deported  to  Zimbabwe  in  November  1989. 

Section  3  Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

Citizens  have  the  right  peacefully  to  change  their  government 
through  democratic  means,  although  in  practice  one  party,  the 
BDP,  has  dominated  Parliament  since  independence.   Members  of 
Parliament  are  elected  by  universal  suffrage  and  secret 
ballot;  the  President  is  elected  by  the  Parliament.   Thirty- 
four  of  the  38  members  of  the  National  Assembly  are  elected 
every  5  years;  the  remaining  4  are  appointed  by  the 
President.   Following  the  October  1989  elections,  the  BDP 
holds  31  of  the  34  elective  seats  in  the  National  Assembly. 
At  present  there  are  eight  active  political  parties.   At  the 
end  of  199  0,  only  the  two  major  parties,  the  BDP  and  the  BNF, 
were  represented  in  Parliament. 

Women  and  minorities  legally  have  the  same  political  rights  as 
the  majority,  but  in  practice  the  traditional  patriarchial 
system  has  discouraged  women  from  taking  part  in  politics.   At 
the  end  of  1990,  there  were  two  women  in  Parliament,  one  of 
whom  was  the  Minister  of  External  Affairs.   Women  hold  some 
positions  in  local  and  district  councils,  and  the  trend  in  the 
number  of  positions  held  by  women  is  increasing. 

Section  4  Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

The  Government  permits  local  and  international  organizations 
involved  in  human  rights  advocacy  to  operate  in  Botswana, 
including  the  International  Committee  of  the  Red  Cross,  UNHCR, 
the  International  Labor  Organization  (ILO),  and  others.   To 
date,  there  have  been  no  international  investigatons  of  human 
rights  violations  in  Botswana.   Government  representatives 
have  stated  that  they  would  cooperate  if  there  were  such  an 
investigation. 

Organized  in  1989,  the  Botswana  Association  for  Human  Rights 
had  still  not  gained  official  registration  by  the  end  of  the 
year.   However,  both  the  Attorney  General  and  the  Ministry  of 
External  Affairs  have  responded  favorably  to  this  private 
initiative.   The  goals  of  the  Association  are  to  focus 
national  attention  on  those  laws  which  need  reform,  to  make 
recommendations  to  the  national  law  reform  committee,  to 
heighten  public  awareness  about  human  rights  and  their  own 
specific  rights,  and  to  pressure  the  Government  to  ratify  more 
of  the  existing  international  human  rights  instruments. 
Independent  organizations  dealing  with  the  rights  of  women  and 
rural  dwellers  also  exist. 


21 


BOTSWANA 

Section  5  Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

The  Tswana  majority,  comprising  an  estimated  65  percent  of  the 
population,  has  a  tradition  of  peacefully  coexisting  with  the 
largest  minority,  the  Kalanga,  with  approximately  25  percent 
of  the  population.   Although  ethnic  differences  are  not 
entirely  absent,  no  ethnic  group  suffers  from  serious 
discrimination.   The  most  prominent  complaint  comes  from  the 
Government's  refusal  to  allow  instruction  in  minority 
languages  in  schools.   Groups  living  in  remote  areas, 
including  the  Kgalagadi  and  the  San  (formerly  called  bushmen) , 
have  suffered  discrimination  in  the  past  in  access  to 
government  services  and  legal  redress,  partly  because  of  their 
distance  from  settled  areas  and  their  nomadic  lifestyle.   They 
are  still  poorly  represented  in  politics,  but  some  are  being 
resettled  and  are  gaining  better  access  to  government  services. 

The  Constitution  and  penal  code  forbid  discrimination  based  on 
color,  race,  nationality,  or  creed  but  do  not  mention 
discrimination  based  on  sex.   In  fact,  political,  social,  and 
economic  opportunities  for  women  are  restricted  by  a  number  of 
laws  and  customs.   For  example,  women  married  under  either 
common  law  or  customary  (tribal)  law  are  subject  to  practices 
in  which  wives  assume  a  legal  status  equivalent  to  the 
husband's  child.   Essentially,  this  means  that  a  woman  may  not 
make  a  legally  binding  agreement  without  her  husband's  consent 
or  assistance.   A  women  may  enter  a  binding  transaction  as  a 
public  trader,  but  she  may  become  a  trader  only  with  the 
consent  of  her  husband.   Under  customary  law  the  husband  is 
permitted  to  have  other  wives  after  consulting  first  with  the 
first  wife  and  the  families.   Deference  to  the  husband's 
wishes  also  carries  over  into  the  health  field  where  a  women 
is  rec[uired  to  obtain  her  husband's  permission  for  the  use  of 
contraceptives  or  for  operations  which  would  prevent 
conception.   In  addition,  the  Citizenship  Act  prevents  a  woman 
from  passing  her  Botswana  citizenship  to  her  children  if  she 
is  married  to  a  foreigner. 

Domestic  violence  against  women  is  increasingly  being 
recognized  as  a  problem  in  Botswana.   However,  no  data  to 
verify  its  extent  exists.   Under  customary  marital  practices, 
men  have  traditionally  held  the  right  to  physically  "chastise" 
their  wives,  although  this  attitude  is  gradually  changing. 
Because  marital  problems  are  considered  to  be  a  problem  to  be 
dealt  with  between  the  husband  and  the  wife,  the  police  are 
reluctant  to  intervene.   Frequently  problems  are  settled 
through  the  extended  families,  and  as  a  result,  few  cases  of 
domestic  violence  ever  come  before  the  courts.   The  incidence 
of  rape  is  also  increasing  in  Botswana.   The  maximum  penalty 
is  life  imprisonment  with  mandatory  corporal  punishment;  the 
average  sentence  is  4  years  with  corporal  punishment.   A  form 
of  female  circumcision  exists  in  Botswana,  but  it  is  rarely 
performed  and  only  by  a  few  traditional  doctors. 

The  Government  has  been  slow  to  introduce  reforms  to  improve 
the  status  of  women.   The  governing  party  established  a 
women's  wing  only  in  1987  to  focus  on  women's  issues.   Since 
1981  the  Ministry  of  Home  Affairs  has  had  a  women's  affairs 
unit,  which  has  published  a  woman's  guide  to  the  law  and 
information  on  the  citizenship  law  and  undertaken  research  on 
maternity  leave  problems,  teenage  pregnancy,  and  various  laws 
affecting  women.   The  Attorney  General  maintains  that  women 
have  no  legal  recourse  to  challenge  sex  discrimination  cases. 
However,  the  case  of  a  female  attorney  who  challenged  the 


22 


BOTSWANA 

Citizenship  Act,  claiming  it  discriminates  against  her  because 
she  is  female,  was  heard  in  November;  a  decision  is  expected 
in  1991. 

Section  6  Worker  Rights 

a.  The  Right  of  Association 

Workers,  except  for  government  employees,  are  free  to 
establish  or  join  labor  unions.   Government  workers  who  are 
pensionable  may  not  join  unions  although  they  may  have 
associations  that  function  as  qnaasi-unions .   Unions  are  well 
developed  only  in  the  mineral,  railway,  and  bank  sectors. 
There  is  one  major  confederation  of  trade  unions,  the  Botswana 
Federation  of  Trade  Unions  (BFTU) . 

Trade  unions  in  Botswana  are  independent  of  government  control 
or  party  affiliation,  and  they  actively  seek  to  represent  the 
interests  of  their  members.   However,  the  Government  requires 
that  all  elected  union  officials  work  full  time  in  the 
industry  the  union  represents.   This  requirement  severely 
limits  union  organizational  effectiveness  and  has  been 
criticized  by  the  International  Confederation  of  Free  Trade 
Unions  (ICFTU) .   The  ICFTU  also  criticized  Botswana  because 
"the  dissolution  of  trade  union  organizations  by  government  is 
possible  under  the  law  at  all  times." 

The  law  severely  restricts  the  right  to  strike.   Legal  strikes 
are  theoretically  possible  after  an  exhaustive  arbitration 
process,  but  there  has  never  been  a  legal  strike.   Several 
illegal  wildcat  strikes,  including  several  in  the  construction 
industry,  took  place  in  1990,  although  such  strike  activity 
was  lower  than  in  1989.   All  of  the  strikes  in  1990  were 
resolved  after  a  few  days,  usually  after  the  mediation  of 
trade  unions  or  the  Department  of  Labor.   Once  a  strike  has 
been  declared  illegal  by  the  Government,  management  has  the 
right  to  dismiss  employees,  and  strikers  can  be  jailed.   The 
Government  has  yet  to  employ  these  extreme  measures  against 
strikers . 

Unions  may  freely  join  international  organizations,  and  labor 
representatives  regularly  attend  international  conferences. 
The  BFTU  is  affiliated  with  the  ICFTU.   In  addition,  the 
Botswana  Mine  Workers  Union  belongs  to  a  regional  mine 
workers'  union  federation. 

In  1990  the  Government  began  discussions  with  employers  and 
trade  unions  over  possible  reform  of  labor  laws. 

b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

Although  employers  are  required  under  the  Trade  Union  Act  to 
bargain  with  any  trade  union  that  has  organized  at  least  25 
percent  of  the  work  force,  the  actual  frequency  of  collective 
bargaining  depends  upon  the  organizing  strength  of  the  union 
in  a  particular  industry.   Collective  bargaining  is  common  in 
sectors  such  as  mining  in  which  trade  unions  are  relatively 
strong  but  is  virtually  nonexistent  in  others.   Formerly, 
collective  bargaining  was  limited  by  the  Government's  income 
policy,  which  set  public  sector  salaries  as  a  benchmark  for 
private  sector  wage  settlements.   This  policy  was  repealed  by 
the  Parliament  in  September. 

Although  there  are  laws  which  prohibit  employers  from 
dismissing  workers  for  union  activities,  there  is  some  dispute 


^ 


BOTSWANA 

as  to  how  well  they  are  enforced.   Other  reasons  are  often 
given  for  dismissals  so  it  is  difficult  for  the  dismissed 
employee  to  prove  that  union  activities  were  the  real  reason. 
Dismissals  may  be  appealed  to  labor  officers  or  the  civil 
courts,  but  labor  officers  rarely  do  much  more  than  order  2 
months'  severance  pay,  and  most  workers  cannot  afford  civil 
litigation.   Labor  law  and  practice  in  Botswana's  only  export 
processing  zone  (EPZ),  in  Selebi-Phikwe,  are  the  same  as  in 
the  rest  of  the  country.   The  Botswana  Mine  Workers  Union  is 
headquartered  in  Selebi-Phikwe.   The  EPZ  involves  only 
government  financial  incentives  to  locate  there  and  includes 
no  express  or  implied  modification  of  labor  laws. 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

Forced  or  compulsory  labor  is  not  practiced  in  Botswana  and  is 
specifically  forbidden  in  the  Constitution. 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

Botswana  law  prohibits  the  employment  of  children  12  years  of 
age  and  under  by  anyone  except  members  of  the  child's 
immediate  family.   No  juvenile  under  the  age  of  15  may  be 
employed  in  any  industry,  and  only  those  over  16  may  be 
employed  in  night  work.   No  person  16  or  younger  is  permitted 
to  work  in  hazardous  jobs,  including  mining.   Botswana  law 
also  protects  young  people  from  recruiters  for  jobs  outside 
the  country.   There  are  reports  that  scattered  violations  of 
these  standards  do  occur,  especially  in  small-scale 
enterprises,  largely  because  the  Department  of  Labor  in  the 
Ministry  of  Labor  and  Home  Affairs  is  insufficiently  staffed 
to  enforce  full  compliance.   Although  education  is  not  yet 
compulsory,  it  is  almost  universally  available,  and  most 
children  attend  school  at  least  through  the  primary  grades. 
The  Government  has  indicated  it  hopes  to  make  9  years  of 
education  compulsory  by  1992. 

e.  Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

Minimum  wages  are  established  by  law  for  all  but  agricultural 
and  domestic  workers.   The  minimum  wage  is  approximately  $90 
per  month  and  is  generally  enforced.   This  amount  is  barely 
adeqiiate  for  one  person  to  maintain  a  decent  standard  of 
living,  and  in  most  cases,  workers  must  supplement  this  amount 
through  other  means  such  as  subsistence  farming.   Most 
families  have  more  than  one  wage  earner.   The  law  mandates  a 
maximum  48-hour  workweek  with  provisions  for  overtime  pay 
(time  and  a  half)  for  work  over  48  hours.   Most  major 
employers  adhere  to  the  workweek  laws,  but  some  smaller  firms 
refuse  to  pay  overtime,  and  no  action  is  taken  against  them. 

The  Government  establishes  basic  job  health  and  safety 
standards.   Most  industries  adhere  to  the  standards,  although 
compliance  by  construction  firms  is  sometimes  lax.   Industrial 
accident  rates  are  not  high  on  the  whole.   Workers  who 
complain  about  hazardous  conditions  are  legally  protected  from 
dismissal.   Government  enforcement  of  safety  standards  is 
divided  between  the  Labor  and  Mines  Departments  and  the 
Ministry  of  Health  but  has  been  hampered  by  inadequate 
staffing. 


24 


BURKINA  FASO 


Burkina  Faso  is  ruled  by  a  military  regime  headed  by  Captain 
Blaise  Compaore  who  took  power  from  Thomas  Sankara  on  October 
15,  1987,  in  the  country's  fourth  military  coup  since  1980. 
Compaore  has  since  reinforced  a  narrow  political  base  by 
forming  a  "Popular  Front"  of  leftwing  and  centrist  groups, 
military  officers,  and  politically  unaffiliated  civilians  to 
assist  in  running  the  Government.   At  the  first  Popular  Front 
Congress  in  March,  Compaore  initiated  a  process  of  political 
and  constitutional  reform.   A  new  draft  constitution  was 
approved  by  a  national  convention  in  mid-December  that 
provides  the  potential  for  evolution  to  a  multiparty  system 
and  the  rule  of  law. 

Burkina  Faso ' s  security  apparatus  consists  of  the  armed 
forces,  including  the  paramilitary  gendarmerie  and  the  police, 
which  have  primary  responsibility  for  internal  security.   All 
police  and  internal  security  forces  are  controlled  by  the 
Ministry  of  Defense.   The  police  continued  to  be  responsible 
for  human  rights  abuses,  including  mistreatment  of  detainees. 

Burkina  Faso  is  overwhelmingly  dependent  on  subsistence 
agriculture  that  is  highly  vulnerable  to  variable  rainfall. 
Frequent  drought,  lack  of  communications,  and  poor 
infrastructure,  as  well  as  a  low  literacy  rate,  are  all 
longstanding  problems.   The  country  has  a  per  capita  income  of 
around  $200  per  year. 

Human  rights  continued  to  be  circumscribed  in  1990.   Problem 
areas  were  arbitrary  detentions,  mistreatment  of  detainees, 
restrictions  on  freedom  of  the  press  and  worker  rights,  and 
the  inability  of  citizens  to  change  their  government  through 
peaceful  means.   Nevertheless,  the  situation  has  improved 
since  the  Sankara  era,  as  evidenced  in  the  emerging  debate 
over  constitutional  reform  and  in  the  authorization  of  a 
number  of  new  political  groups,  some  of  which  became  openly 
critical  of  the  Popular  Front  toward  the  end  of  the  year.   The 
Government  also  continued  to  tolerate  a  local  human  rights 
organization. 

RESPECT  FOR  HUMAN  RIGHTS 

Section  1  Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.   Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

There  have  been  no  confirmed  extrajudicial  killings  since  the 
summary  executions  of  four  members  of  the  armed  forces  in 
September  1989  for  allegedly  plotting  a  coup  d'etat.   After 
another  coup  attempt  at  in  late  December  1989,  the  Government 
denied  rumors  that  seven  people  had  been  executed  and  said  all 
those  arrested  would  receive  trials.   These  trials  did  not 
take  place  in  1990,  and  rumors  persist  that  one  of  those 
detained.  Professor  Guillaume  Sessouma,  died  in  captivity 
after  being  beaten  by  police.   In  October  the  Burkinabe 
Movement  for  Human  Rights  (MBDHP)  called  on  the  Government  to 
produce  Sessouma  and  Dabo  Boukary,  a  student  reported  to  also 
have  died  in  detention  after  mistreatment  by  police,  or  admit 
their  deaths,  launch  an  inquiry,  and  punish  those 
responsible.   The  Government  did  not  respond  specifically  to 
these  cases,  but  shortly  after  the  MBDHP  communique  it 
produced  other  political  prisoners  for  view  by  the  official 
press.   At  year's  end  the  fate  of  both  men  remained  unknown. 


25 


BURKINA  FASO 

b.  Disappearance 

Other  than  the  cases  mentioned  above,  there  were  no  reports  of 
politically  motivated  disappearance. 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment 

Although  legally  prohibited,  torture  and  mistreatment  of 
detainees  have  been  persistent  problems  for  a  number  of 
years.   Police  brutality  has  continued  since  Amnesty 
International  (AI)  published  a  special  report  in  1988  on 
political  imprisonment  and  torture.   Such  mistreatment  was 
inflicted  on  those  in  official  custody  and  was  particularly 
evident  during  student  protests  at  the  University  of 
Ouagadougou  in  May  when  police  severely  beat  student 
protesters  (see  Section  2.b.).   There  were  no  known  actions 
taken  by  the  Government  to  end  these  practices  or  to  punish 
those  responsible  for  them. 

Prison  conditions  are  poor,  with  most  prisons  holding  double 
their  designed  capacity.   Conditions  are  further  characterized 
by  the  lack  of  sufficient  food  and  minimum  hygiene  and  medical 
support . 

d.  Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

Although  Burkina  Faso ' s  law  provides  for  expeditious 
arraignment  and  trial,  access  to  legal  counsel,  and  the  right 
of  appeal,  these  rights  are  rarely  observed,  particularly  in 
political  or  security  cases. 

There  were  continuing  reports  in  1990  of  arbitrary  arrest. 
The  law  permits  preventive  detention  without  charge  for  a 
maximum  of  72  hours,  renewable  for  a  single  72-hour  period  in 
criminal  cases.   In  practice,  rights  are  rarely  observed  in 
national  security  and  political  cases.   More  than  40  students 
were  held  in  incommunicado  detention  without  charge  for 
several  months  after  the  disturbances  of  May.   Some  were 
released,  but  AI  reports  that  8  were  forcibly  conscripted  into 
the  armed  forces,  and  at  least  16  remained  in  incommunicado 
detention.   The  MBDHP  urged  the  Government  to  release  the 
remaining  students  (see  Section  2.b.).   In  addition,  in 
security  and  political  cases,  the  military  code,  which 
provides  for  indefinite  detention,  overrides  the  civil  code. 
Access  to  lawyers  is  not  usually  permitted  in  security  cases, 
although  it  is  provided  for  by  law. 

The  Compaore  regime  has  made  a  practice  of  detaining  political 
opponents.   Many  were  released  in  August  1989.   However,  some 
of  them  were  rearrested  in  September  1989  after  the  discovery 
of  the  alleged  coup  plot  and,  together  with  those  arrested 
after  the  Christmas  1989  coup  attempt,  continued  to  be  held 
through  1990.   The  MBDHP  was  granted  access  to  the  detainees 
in  January;  it  reported  no  evidence  of  torture  or  mistreatment. 

Some  intellectuals,  ex-military  officers,  and  former 
Government  officials  remain  in  self-imposed  exile  abroad, 
partly  due  to  fear  for  their  safety  should  they  return. 

e.  Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

The  legal  code  guarantees  the  rights  to  public  trial,  access 
to  counsel,  and  to  appeal  convictions.   These  rights  are 
generally  respected  in  the  normal  court  system,  but  they  are 


26 


BURKINA  FASO 

suspended  in  the  people's  revolutionary  courts,  which 
generally  hear  corruption  cases.   The  regular  court  system, 
patterned  after  the  French  system,  continues  to  function  for 
most  criminal  and  civil  cases,  and  defendants  usually  receive 
a  fair  trial.   Military  courts  have  jurisdiction  in  security 
and  political  cases  and  are  convened  on  an  ad  hoc  basis.   The 
Government  appoints  civil  service  attorneys  to  represent  those 
who  do  not  wish  to  retain  or  cannot  afford  a  private  attorney. 

In  the  people's  revolutionary  courts,  cases  are  susceptible  to 
interference  by  the  Executive.   Revolutionary  court  judges 
include  not  only  magistrates  but  also  military  personnel  and 
members  of  revolutionary  committees,  who  usually  do  not  have 
any  formal  legal  training.   The  court  president  asks  questions 
directly  of  the  defendant,  and  no  legal  representation  is 
permitted. 

The  number  of  political  prisoners,  including  political 
detainees,  was  estimated  to  be  about  30  at  the  end  of  1990. 
Those  persons  implicated  in  the  Christmas  coup  attempt  were 
finally  scheduled  to  come  to  trial  early  in  1991,  probably 
before  a  special  military  court  convened  specifically  for  the 
case.   Pressure  from  local  and  international  human  rights 
groups  has  led  the  Government  to  permit  those  charged  in  the 
Christmas  coup  attempt  to  have  access  to  legal  representation. 

f .   Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 
Correspondence 

Government  authorities  generally  do  not  interfere  in  the  daily 
lives  of  ordinary  citizens,  and  there  is  no  general  monitoring 
of  private  correspondence  or  telephones,  except  in  national 
security  cases.   Under  the  law  homes  may  be  searched  only 
under  the  authority  of  a  warrant  issued  by  the  Attorney 
General.   In  national  security  cases,  however  a  special  law 
permits  surveillance,  searches,  and  monitoring  of  telephones 
and  correspondence  without  a  warrant.   The  Government 
encourages  participation  in  its  revolutionary  committees  and 
also  in  the  four  so-called  popular  structures,  organizations 
formed  to  group  together  the  youth,  women,  elders,  and 
peasants  of  Burkina  Faso .   Civil  servants  who  did  not 
participate  in  the  revolutionary  committees  found  their 
chances  for  advancement  limited. 

Section  2  Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including: 

a.   Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

Freedom  of  speech  and  press  are  not  guaranteed  by  law,  and  the 
Government  controls  the  media.   The  Government  also  employs 
methods  of  intimidation  to  limit  freedom  of  speech.   Repeated 
references  by  the  regime  to  enemies  of  the  State  at  home  and 
abroad  inhibit  ordinary  citizens  from  expressing  critical 
views.   Similarly,  the  Government  used  dismissals  from 
government  service  and  arbitrary  arrest  to  quell  debate  on 
political  topics.   While  the  Government  used  these  powers  to 
limit  the  ability  of  opposition  parties  to  convey  their 
message  to  the  public,  it  permitted  an  increasingly  open 
political  dialog  on  Burkina  Faso ' s  future,  particularly  toward 
the  end  of  the  year.   Delegates  at  the  March  National  Congress 
of  the  Popular  Front  held  a  heated  debate  on  freedom  of  the 
press,  for  example.   A  similarly  open  debate  took  place  at  the 
national  constitutional  convention  in  December  1990. 
Formal  censorship  of  the  press  is  unnecessary,  since  most 
media  outlets  in  Burkina  Faso  are  government  owned  and 


27 


BURKINA  FASO 

controlled  and  fall  under  the  direction  of  the  Minister  of 
Information.   Journalists  are  civil  servants  and  do  not  engage 
in  serious  criticism  of  the  Government  and  may  be  replaced  for 
failing  to  support  the  political  views  of  the  Government.   The 
official  press  is  selective  in  its  reporting  and  provided  no 
coverage  of  an  MDBHP-sponsored  seminar  on  human  rights  and  the 
Constitution  in  August.   Despite  the  lack  of  advance 
publicity,  some  400  to  500  people  attended  the  seminar.   In 

1989,  a  private  newspaper,  L 'Observateur ,  attempted  to  publish 
its  first  edition  since  it  was  burned  down  in  1984.   The 
Government  quickly  stepped  in  to  prevent  publication, 
ostensibly  because  the  newspaper  did  not  have  the  proper 
permits.   No  permits  were  granted  in  1990. 

The  Government  unveiled  in  1990  a  new  information  code  that 
permits  private  publications  for  the  first  time  since  1987. 
The  code  establishes  the  right  to  information  as  fundamental 
but  requires  that  this  right  be  exercised  with  "strict 
respect"  for  cultural  and  moral  values  and  the  political 
orientation  of  Burkina  Faso.   Several  independent  journals, 
published  by  various  political  groups,  appeared  in  1990.   They 
and  the  quarterly  journal  of  the  Burkinabe  Human  Rights 
Movement  (MBDHP),  Liberte,  have  not  been  subject  to  government 
censorship.   Those  working  on  the  MBDHP  journal  are  not 
licensed  journalists  under  the  information  code. 

Foreign  newspapers  and  magazines  entered  the  country  freely  in 

1990.  The  new  code  provides,  however,  that  in  the  future  such 
publications  must  be  deposited  with  the  Ministry  of 
Information  before  they  can  be  sold.   In  1990  foreign 
journalists  traveled  freely,  filed  stories  without  censorship, 
and  enjoyed  access  to  government  officials.   There  is  no 
interference  with  international  radio  broadcasts. 

Academic  freedom  is  limited  (see  Section  2.b.). 

b.   Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

The  Compaore  Government  initially  continued  the  Sankara 
regime's  ban  on  political  parties,  but  in  1990  it  permitted 
some  political  parties  to  organize  and  hold  political 
meetings.   It  remains  necessary  for  parties  to  seek 
administrative  permission  for  their  meetings,  but  such 
permission  is  generally  granted  without  question.   Some  of  the 
more  centrist  parties  accepted  the  Government's  invitation  to 
join  the  Popular  Front,  though  others  have  chosen  to  remain 
outside  it.   Open  criticism  of  the  Government  became 
increasingly  apparent  toward  the  end  of  1990,  and  a  variety  of 
groups  were  active  at  the  December  national  constitutional 
convention,  contesting  positions  of  the  Popular  Front  and 
advancing  their  own  political  views. 

The  limits  of  the  Government's  tolerance  of  political 
activity,  however,  were  evident  in  May  when  police  forcibly 
intervened  at  the  campus  of  Ouagadougou  University  to  break  up 
students'  attempts  to  organize  a  protest  against  government 
educational  policies.   In  the  ensuing  fracas  bystanders  were 
arrested,  and  some  students  were  badly  beaten  by  soldiers  and 
police.   Many  of  the  students,  including  Clement  Bagre,  the 
national  student  representative  to  the  constitutional 
commission,  were  held  without  charge  in  various  military 
facilities  throughout  Burkina  Faso  for  several  months.   The 
Government  also  permanently  prohibited  the  return  to  the 
university  of  any  student  involved  in  the  protest,  effectively 
ending  their  academic  careers.   In  July  the  MBDHP  called  for 


28 


BURKINA  FASO 

the  release  of  the  remaining  detained  students,  the 
readmission  of  students  expelled  from  the  university,  equal 
access  for  all  students  to  university  services,  and  an  end  to 
investigation  of  accused  students.   There  was  no  known 
response  from  by  the  Government  by  the  end  of  the  year.   The 
National  Student  Association  protested  the  Government's 
actions  by  boycotting  the  December  constitutional  convention 
and  circulating  a  tract  condemning  the  continued  government 
stonewalling. 

Nonpolitical  associations  for  business,  religious,  cultural, 
and  other  purposes  exist  and  experience  no  difficulty  in 
obtaining  permission  to  meet  or  in  associating  with 
international  bodies  in  their  fields. 

c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

Burkina  Faso  is  a  secular  state,  and  there  is  no  official 
discrimination  on  religious  grounds.   Islam  and  Christianity 
exist  side  by  side,  with  about  40  percent  of  the  population 
Muslim  and  about  15  percent  Christian.   The  remainder  of  the 
population  practices  traditional  African  religions.   Muslim 
and  Christian  holidays  are  recognized  as  national  holidays. 
Social  mobility  and  access  to  modern  sector  jobs  are  neither 
linked  to,  nor  restricted  by,  religious  affiliations. 

d.  Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

Travelers  within  Burkina  Faso  are  routinely  stopped  at  police 
and  military  checkpoints.  There  appears  to  be  little 
restriction  on  foreign  travel  for  business  and  tourism.  Exit 
permits,  once  used  to  limit  movements  of  workers  to 
neighboring  countries,  particularly  to  Cote  D'lvoire,  where  2 
million  or  more  Burkinabe  continue  to  reside  and  work,  are  no 
longer  required. 

Refugees  are  accepted  freely  in  Burkina  Faso,  and  attempts  are 
made  to  provide  for  their  care  in  cooperation  with  the  United 
Nations  High  Commissioner  for  Refugees.   There  were 
approximately  270  refugees  and  displaced  persons  in  Burkina 
Faso  at  the  end  of  1989,  mainly  from  Chad,  but  most  of  these 
departed  in  1990.   In  January  the  Government  expelled — without 
explanations — several  hundred  Ghanaians  who  had  been  living 
legally  in  Burkina  Faso. 

Section  3  Respect  for  Political  Rights;   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

Citizens  do  not  have  the  right  to  change  their  government 
through  democratic  procedures,  although  discussions  began  in 
1990  on  constitutional  reform,  and  some  political  groupings 
were  authorized  to  organize  and  meet.   The  military  have 
dominated  the  political  process  since  1980  through  four 
changes  in  leadership  and  gave  clear  signals  in  1990  that  the 
process  of  reform  will  be  carefully  controlled  from  the  top. 
Up  to  now.  President  Compaore  has  relied  on  a  rather  narrow 
grouping  of  people,  including  military  officers,  to  help  run 
the  Government  and  on  a  loose  network  of  revolutionary 
committees  throughout  the  country  to  mobilize  popular 
support . 

At  the  end  of  1990,  a  national  convention  adopted  a  new  draft 
constitution  which,  if  fully  implemented,  could  lead  to 
greater  popular  participation  in  the  political  process.   At 


29 


BURKINA  FASO 

the  first  National  Congress  of  the  Popular  Front  in  March, 
President  Compaore  announced  a  plan  to  "broaden  the  base"  of 
the  Government.   In  May  a  104-member  commission,  with 
representatives  from  political,  labor,  religious,  and  legal 
organizations,  was  named  by  the  Popular  Front  to  draft  a 
constitution.   Despite  criticism,  the  Front  named  the 
president  and  vice-president  of  the  commission.   A 
constitutional  referendum,  originally  planned  for  November, 
was  rescheduled  until  June  1991.   If  approved,  the 
constitution  would  be  implemented  in  late  1991.   It  calls  for 
direct  election  of  representatives  to  the  proposed  National 
Assembly  and  of  the  President  and  provides  for  an  independent 
judiciary,  and  for  freedom  of  the  press  and  expression. 

Section  4   Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

The  Government  has  continued  to  tolerate  the  activities  of  the 
Burkinabe  Movement  for  the  Rights  of  Men  and  Peoples  (MBDHP) , 
an  independent  group  composed  mostly  of  students  and 
professionals,  led  by  the  president  of  the  Administrative 
Chamber  of  the  High  Court.   Movement  leaders  have  been 
permitted  to  organize  forums  on  constitutional  and  human 
rights  issues,  at  which  discussion  has  been  impressively  free 
and  open;  they  have  also  published  a  quarterly  journal.   MBDHP 
functions,  however,  have  been  studiously  ignored  by  the 
Government  press.   In  February  the  MBDHP  marked  its  first 
anniversary  with  a  series  of  well-attended  discussions  of 
human  rights  issues,  including  the  excessive  role  of  the 
military  Government,  the  arbitrary  nature  of  revolutionary 
justice,  and  the  absence  of  a  free  press.   The  authorities  did 
not  intervene  in  the  proceedings.   In  August  some  400  to  500 
people  attended  an  MBDHP-sponsored  conference  in  which  members 
of  the  constitutional  commission  were  questioned  closely  on 
what  human  rights  guarantees  were  included  in  the  draft 
constitution.   There  were  no  reports  of  reprisals  against 
participants.   MBDHP  representatives  have  also  been  able,  in 
some  cases,  to  ensure  that  political  detainees  have  not  been 
mistreated  and  had  access  to  their  families. 

Section  5  Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

Discrimination  on  the  basis  of  race,  religion,  or  ethnic 
origin  is  illegal  under  both  current  law  and  the  draft 
constitution.   In  practice,  such  discrimination  does  not  occur 
on  a  wide  scale;  minority  ethnic  groups  are  as  likely  to  be 
represented  in  the  inner  circles  of  the  Government  as  are 
majority  Mossi,  and  government  decisions  do  not  favor  one 
group  over  another . 

In  the  largely  rural  society  of  Burkina  Faso,  women  continue 
to  occupy  a  subordinate  position  and  face  discrimination  in 
such  areas  as  education,  jobs,  property,  and  family  rights. 
Women  make  up  one-fourth  of  the  government  work  force,  usually 
in  lower  paying  positions,  which  represents  one-third  of  the 
total  salaried  work  force  in  the  country.   Women  make  up 
approximately  one-third  of  the  total  student  population  in  the 
primary,  secondary,  and  advanced  school  systems.   Schools  in 
rural  areas  have  disproportionately  fewer  girls  than  schools 
in  urban  areas. 

Violence  against  women,  especially  wife  beating,  occurs  fairly 
frequently  in  rural  areas,  less  often  in  cities.   The 


30 


BURKINA  FASO 

Government  is  attempting  to  educate  people  on  the  subject 
through  the  media.   Specific  cases  of  violence  against  women 
can  be  brought  before  the  National  Women's  Association  (UFB) 
which  attempts  to  offer  protection  and  counsel.   Such  cases 
are  sometimes  brought  before  a  "Popular  Conciliation 
Tribunal,"  composed  of  community  representatives,  for 
mediation. 

The  Government  has  made  a  particularly  strong  commitment  to 
eradicate  female  genital  mutilation  through  widespread 
educational  efforts.   Female  circumcision  still  occurs  in  many 
rural  areas,  although  it  is  becoming  less  common  in  urban 
centers.   Another  form  of  mutilation  is  by  scarring  the  faces 
of  both  boys  and  girls  of  certain  ethnic  groups.   This  is 
rapidly  disappearing.   The  UFB  takes  a  leadership  role  in  both 
campaigns . 

Section  6  Worker  Rights 

a.  The  Right  of  Association 

Workers  have  traditionally  had  the  legal  right  to  association, 
although  the  Government  has  prevented  the  unions  from  engaging 
in  activities  it  opposes  and  appears  to  have  forced  recent 
leadership  changes  in  three  unions  to  ensure  more  compliance 
with  government  labor  policy.   Once  among  the  most  powerful 
political  actors  in  the  country,  organized  labor  lost  much  of 
its  influence  under  the  Sankara  and  Compaore  military 
regimes. 

Organized  labor  has  the  legal  right  to  strike,  but  in  practice 
this  right  no  longer  exists.   The  Compaore  Government  has  not 
faced  major  labor  unrest,  and  there  were  no  strikes  in  1990. 
The  Committee  of  Experts  of  the  International  Labor 
Organizations  (ILO)  noted  with  satisfaction  in  1989  that  all 
the  teachers  dismissed  following  a  strike  that  year  had  been 
reinstated,  and  that  all  sanctions  against  officials  had  been 
lifted. 

The  largest  federation,  the  National  Organization  of  Free 
Trade  Unions  (ONSL) ,  is  affiliated  with  the  International 
Confederation  of  Free  Trade  Unions.   The  ONSL  underwent  a 
wrenching  internal  struggle  in  1990  that  left  it  seriously 
weakened.   A  leftist  federation  is  affiliated  with  the 
Communist-controlled  World  Federation  of  Trade  Unions. 
Burkina  Faso ' s  five  federations  take  turns  representing  labor 
at  ILO  meetings  and  African  labor  meetings,  and  all  had  the 
opportunity  to  participate  in  the  drafting  of  a  national 
constitution. 

b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

Unions  have  the  right  to  bargain  for  wages  and  other  benefits 
but  only  on  a  company-by-company  basis.   There  are  no  export 
processing  zones  in  Burkina  Faso. 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

Forced  labor  is  prohibited  by  law  in  Burkina  Faso  and  is  not 
practiced. 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

The  labor  code  sets  the  minimum  age  for  employment  at  14,  the 
average  age  for  completion  of  basic  secondary  school. 


31 


BURKINA  FASO 

However,  the  Government  lacks  the  means  to  enforce  this 
provision  adequately,  even  in  the  small  wage  sector.   Most 
children  actually  begin  work  at  an  earlier  age  owing  to  the 
large  number  of  small,  family  subsistence  farms  and  the 
traditional  apprenticeship  system. 

e.   Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

Minimum  monthly  pay  of  about  $75  and  a  maximum  workweek  of  48 
hours  are  stipulated  by  the  labor  code,  as  are  safety  and 
health  provisions.   This  minimum  wage  is  not  adequate  for  a 
worker  to  support  a  family,  and  wage  earners  usually  must 
supplement  their  income  through  the  extended  family  and 
subsistence  agriculture.   There  are  also  health  and  safety 
standards.   A  system  of  Government  inspections  under  the 
Ministry  of  Labor  and  labor  courts  ensures  that  these 
provisions  are  applied  in  the  small  industrial  and  commercial 
sectors,  but  they  have  been  impossible  to  enforce  in  the 
dominant  subsistence  agriculture  sector  which  involves  90 
percent  of  the  population. 


32 


BURUNDI 


The  Republic  of  Burundi  is  a  one-party  state  led  by  President 
Pierre  Buyoya,  an  army  major  who  came  to  power  in  a  coup  in 
September  1987.   As  President  of  the  Republic  and  head  of  the 
80-member  National  Party  for  Unity  and  Progress  (UPRONA) 
Central  Committee,  the  ultimate  decisionmaking  body,  Buyoya 
exercises  considerable  executive,  legislative,  and  regulatory 
powers.   The  22-member  predominantly  civilian  Cabinet  manages 
the  day-to-day  business  of  government.   UPRONA  is  the  only 
significant  political  entity  in  Burundi. 

Throughout  its  history,  Burundi  has  been  plagued  by  ethnic 
conflict,  characterized  by  the  traditional  dominance  of  the 
minority  Tutsi  ethnic  group  over  the  majority  Hutu  ethnic 
group.   Following  violence  in  1988,  in  which  5,000  to  10,000 
people  were  killed,  Buyoya  appointed  an  ethnically  balanced 
Cabinet  and  a  high-level  assembly  of  representatives  of  both 
ethnic  communities,  the  National  Unity  Commission,  to  study 
and  recommend  long-term  solutions  to  the  ethnic  problem.   Its 
report,  issued  in  May  1989,  calls  for  sweeping  changes  in 
nearly  every  aspect  of  national  life,  culminating  in  the 
adoption  of  democratic  institutions. 

In  May  President  Buyoya  presented  the  draft  National  Unity 
Charter  to  the  Burundi  people  and  announced  a  timetable  for 
political  reform.   This  document  is  intended  to  provide  a 
guarantee  of  equal  rights  for  all  Burundis  regardless  of 
ethnicity  and  thus  help  bring  about  national  reconciliation. 
The  Government  has  scheduled  a  referendum  for  its  adoption  in 
February  1991.   The  ruling  Military  Committee  for  National 
Salvation  was  dissolved  in  late  December  and  replaced  by  the 
transitional  UPRONA  Central  Committee   A  constitutional 
commission  is  to  be  convened  in  early  1991,  with  the  declared 
mandate  of  creating  permanent  civilian  institutions  for  the 
nation. 

The  security  police  are  responsible  for  internal  state 
security,  including  the  monitoring  of  dissent;  a  much  larger 
regular  police  force  is  responsible  for  maintaining  law  and 
order.   The  state  security  police  have  the  same  powers  of 
arrest  as  the  regular  police  and  are  subject  to  the  same 
process  of  judicial  review.   An  ethnically  balanced  National 
Security  Council  was  created  in  1990  to  oversee  the  activities 
of  the  various  security  forces,  which  continue  to  be  dominated 
by  the  Tutsi  ethnic  group. 

Landlocked  Burundi  is  extremely  poor  and  densely  populated. 
Over  four-fifths  of  the  working  population  is  engaged  in 
subsistence  agriculture,  working  small,  privately  owned 
plots.   The  small  monetary  economy  is  based  on  coffee,  which 
accounts  for  85  percent  of  exports,  and  other  cash  crops.   The 
donor  community  is  supporting  a  structural  adjustment  program 
designed  to  reverse  the  economy's  heavy  dependence  on 
centralized  administration.   AIDS  is  an  increasingly  serious 
economic  and  social  problem. 

While  a  special  party  congress  in  late  December  provided  the 
potential  for  far-reaching  political  reform,  at  year's  end 
restrictions  on  freedom  of  expression,  assembly,  and  the  right 
of  citizens  to  change  their  government  by  democratic  means 
remained  in  place.   Important  progress  was  made  in  1990  in  the 
campaign  to  eradicate  ethnic  discrimination,  Burundi's  most 
serious  human  rights  problem.   In  addition  to  beginning  to 
address  the  problem  of  ethnic  imbalance  in  the  security  forces 


33 


BURUNDI 

through  the  new  National  Security  Council,  the  Government 
further  eased  tensions  by  releasing  all  those  detained  as  a 
result  of  the  August  1988  ethnic  violence  as  well  as  those 
detained  for  political  subversion  in  March  1989. 

RESPECT  FOR  HUMAN  RIGHTS 

Section  1   Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.  Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

There  were  no  reports  of  politically  motivated  or  government- 
instigated  killings  in  Burundi  in  1990. 

b.  Disappearance 

There  were  no  reports  of  politically  instigated  disappearances. 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment 

Torture  is  forbidden  by  law,  but  cruel  treatment  of  suspects 
or  detainees  is  known  to  occur  in  the  form  of  beatings  at  the 
time  of  arrest  or  interrogation.   Security  forces  are  rarely 
disciplined  for  such  abuses. 

The  Buyoya  regime  allows  regular  inspection  of  prison 
conditions  and  visits  to  prisoners  by  representatives  of  the 
International  Committee  of  the  Red  Cross  (ICRC),  which 
established  an  office  in  Burundi  in  1990.   While  visits  to 
detainees  were  occasionally  restricted  in  1988  and  1989,  there 
were  no  known  instances  of  restricted  access  to  any  prisoners 
or  detainees  in  1990.   Prison  conditions  remain  severe  in 
Burundi  due  to  lack  of  adequate  hygiene,  medical  care,  and 
food.   The  Government  has  begun  a  program  of  gradually 
improving  conditions;  to  date,  efforts  have  been  focused  on 
increasing  the  supply  of  food  and  clothing. 

d.  Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

Police  officers  are  empowered  to  detain  suspects  without  an 
arrest  warrant  but  must  submit  a  written  report  to  the  public 
prosecutor's  office  within  24  hours.   The  public  prosecutor 
examines  the  report  and  may  either  order  the  release  of  the 
detainee  or  issue  an  arrest  warrant  valid  for  5  days.   The 
public  prosecutor  must  then  state  the  charges  before  a 
magistrate  in  the  presence  of  the  detainee.   The  magistrate 
either  releases  the  detainee  or  issues  orders  confirming  the 
detention,  initially  for  15  days  and  subsequently  for  30-day 
periods  as  necessary  to  prepare  the  case  for  trial. 

There  is  no  absolute  limit  on  the  length  of  pretrial 
detention.   Bail  is  set  only  in  cases  of  embezzlement  or 
similar  crimes  involving  financial  wrongdoing.   In  general, 
the  prescribed  procedures  for  arrest  and  imprisonment  are 
followed.   However,  time  limits  for  issuance  of  arrest 
warrants  and  appearance  before  a  magistrate  are  often 
exceeded,  usually  due  to  a  shortage  of  magistrates  and 
prosecutors.   The  Government  has  begun  to  address  this  problem 
by  increasing  the  number  of  magistrates. 

There  were  no  known  political  detainees  at  the  end  of  1990. 
On  the  occasion  of  the  September  3  anniversary  of  the  founding 
of  the  Third  Republic,  51  persons  detained  in  the  wake  of  the 


34 


BURUNDI 

August  1988  ethnic  violence  and  20  persons  arrested  in  March 
1989  in  connection  with  an  alleged  coup  plot  were  granted 
executive  anmesty  and  released  from  custody.   Formal  charges 
had  never  been  filed  against  any  of  the  detainees.   Amnesty 
International's  1990  report  was  critical  of  the  arbitrary 
manner  by  which  some  of  those  released  were  originally 
detained:   "It  appeared  that  some  were  imprisoned  on  account 
of  their  leading  role  in  their  community,  not  because  of  any 
direct  involvement  in  the  intercommunal  killings  of  August 
1988. " 

With  the  exception  of  those  who  have  left  the  country,  the 
signatories  of  the  August  1988  open  letter  to  President  Buyoya 
criticizing  the  army's  role  in  the  ethnic  violence,  including 
the  six  Hutu  intellectuals  who  were  detained  for  4  months, 
have  been  fully  reintegrated  in  their  former  positions. 

During  1990  several  Jehovah's  Witnesses  were  arrested  by  local 
authorities.   All  were  later  released  by  order  of  the 
Government,  which  told  a  delegation  of  visiting  Witnesses  in 
June  that  it  had  issued  orders  to  stop  arrests  of  individual 
members  on  religious  grounds.   No  Witnesses  were  known  to  be 
in  custody  for  religious  reasons  at  the  end  of  the  year. 

The  Government  does  not  exile  its  nationals  as  a  means  of 
political  control.   Since  his  ouster  in  1987,  ex-president 
Bagaza  and  his  spouse  have  been  denied  permission  to  return  to 
Burundi,  but  the  Buyoya  Government  has  stated  that  it  is 
willing  to  negotiate  the  conditions  of  their  return.   Three 
Bagaza  daughters,  all  minors,  remain  in  Burundi  with 
relatives;  they  are  free  to  leave,  however. 

e.   Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

The  judiciary  is  not  independent;  it  is  expected  to  adhere  to 
the  guidance  and  recommendations  of  the  party,  the  Government, 
and  the  President.   Judges  are  appointed  by  and  serve  at  the 
pleasure  of  the  President.   In  practice,  there  is  a  high 
degree  of  autonomy  in  the  court's  daily  administration  of 
justice.   The  President  has  the  power  to  pardon  or  reduce 
sentences.   In  cases  of  major  political  interest,  the 
Government  occasionally  intervenes  in  the  judicial  process. 

Burundi  has  separate  court  systems  to  deal  with  military, 
civil/criminal,  and  state  security  cases.   In  addition,  the 
Cour  des  Comptes  (Court  of  Accounts)  was  established  in  1989 
to  investigate  and  prosecute  cases  of  official  corruption,  a 
special  target  of  government  policy.   To  date,  most  of  the 
cases  this  Court  has  handled  involve  actions  that  occurred 
under  the  previous  regime. 

Military  tribunals  have  jurisdiction  over  military  personnel, 
and  persons  suspected  of  committing  crimes  against  the 
military.   The  cases  of  those  detained  in  connection  with  an 
armed  attack  by  Burundi  refugees  from  Tanzania  against  a 
military  camp  in  August,  which  resulted  in  several  deaths 
among  soldiers  and  attackers,  are  being  handled  by  the 
military  justice  system.   The  State  Security  Court  has 
jurisdiction  over  both  civilian  and  military  personnel,  and 
its  proceedings  need  not  be  made  public.   To  date,  this  Court 
has  been  used  only  once,  in  prosecuting  ex-president  Micombero 
in  the  mid-1970 ' s . 

Burundi  law  provides  the  right  to  counsel,  and  indigents  are 
provided  defense  counsel  by  the  State.   Pretrial  proceedings 


35 


BURUNDI 

may  involve  lengthy  investigations.   The  courts  are  hampered 
by  a  lack  of  trained  legal  personnel  and  by  heavy  case  loads. 

The  Government  released  over  2,000  prisoners  in  September, 
including  many  who  were  serving  time  for  petty  criminal 
offenses,  just  prior  to  the  Pope's  visit  and  for  the  declared 
purpose  of  promoting  national  reconciliation.   The  Government 
maintains  that  no  political  prisoners  remain. 

f.   Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 
Correspondence 

The  inviolability  of  the  home  and  of  private  correspondence 
were  provided  for  in  the  suspended  constitution  and  are  still 
respected  in  practice.   A  judicial  warrant  is  required  for  a 
law  enforcement  official  to  enter  and  search  a  private 
residence.   The  state  security  office  monitors  political 
dissent  through  the  state  security  police  and  by  employing 
informers  who  report  on  discontent  and  dissent  as  well  as  on 
criminal  activity.   Membership  in  the  sole  legal  party  is  not 
required  by  law. 

Section  2  Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including: 

a.   Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

While  significant  restrictions  on  freedom  of  expression  remain 
in  place,  there  was  unprecedented  public  debate  on  formerly 
taboo  subjects,  including  ethnic  relations  and  official 
corruption.   However,  political  debate  is  largely  confined  to 
UPRONA  meetings,  the  forum  for  political  and  social  dialog 
officially  sanctioned  by  the  Government.   The  Government's 
tolerance  for  public  criticism  outside  the  party  is  limited. 
In  the  weeks  leading  to  the  Pope's  visit  in  September,  the 
Government  tolerated  the  circulation  of  numerous  opposition 
tracts,  some  signed  by  persons  resident  in  Burundi.   There 
were  no  known  arrests  of  any  of  the  signatories. 

The  Government  regulates  domestic  print  and  broadcast  media. 
A  French-language  daily  and  a  Kirundi-language  weekly 
newspaper  are  published  by  the  Ministry  of  Information,  which 
also  operates  the  domestic  radio  and  television  stations.   The 
official  media  are  traditionally  required  to  support  the 
fundamental  policies  of  the  party  and  the  Government.   Some 
criticism  of  the  Government  is  permitted,  but  journalists  are 
state  employees  and  subject  to  disciplinary  action  if  their 
criticism  goes  beyond  what  is  considered  tolerable.   The 
Government  has  interfered  on  occasion  with  the  distribution  of 
foreign  news  publications  but  has  never  interfered  with  radio 
reception  from  foreign  sources.   Public  censorship  occurs  only 
in  the  case  of  sexually  explicit  foreign  film  material  or 
publications . 

Following  its  earlier  pledge  to  respect  freedom  of  expression, 
on  December  13,  1988,  the  Buyoya  regime  issued  an  ordinance 
allowing  but  also  regulating  private  print  media  in  Burundi. 
(Private  broadcast  media  are  not  yet  authorized.)   Any  news 
publications  must  have  prior  authorization  from  the  Ministry 
of  Information.   Two  news  publications  have  emerged  under  the 
Government's  liberalized  media  policy,  one  a  Catholic  biweekly 
in  Kirundi  and  the  other  a  monthly  magazine  published  in 
French  by  an  association  of  Burundian  intellectuals.   The 
editorial  boards  of  both  publications  thus  far  have  refrained 
from  taking  controversial  positions  on  critical  issues. 


36 


BURUNDI 

Academic  freedom  is  limited,  in  that  primary  and  secondary 
school  teachers  are  expected  to  support  government  policies. 
Professors  at  the  University  of  Burundi  come  from  a  wide 
assortment  of  national  backgrounds  and  are  generally  permitted 
to  lecture  freely  in  their  subject  areas,  conduct  research, 
and  draw  independent  conclusions.   Three  university  professors 
were  among  the  six  persons  detained  for  signing  the  August 
1988  open  letter  to  President  Buyoya . 

b.  Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

These  rights  are  restricted.   No  political  meetings  or 
associations  other  than  those  tied  to  UPRONA  are  currently 
permitted.   Following  the  August  1988  ethnic  violence,  a 
nationwide  ban  on  public  assemblies  of  more  than  five  persons 
was  in  effect  for  2  1/2  months.   The  widespread  public  protest 
against  the  Government's  rules  for  the  secondary  school 
entrance  examinations  was  initiated  by  an  unauthorized  march 
by  over  1000  Hutu  and  Tutsi  university  students.   The 
Government  did  not  interfere  with  their  march,  and  there  were 
no  instances  of  participating  students  being  arrested  or 
harassed  subsequently.   The  Government  permits  nonpolitical 
private  associations  but  requires  that  they  be  registered  and 
accorded  legal  recognition  before  they  may  function. 

c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

The  Buyoya  Government  reversed  the  repression  of  religious 
expression  under  the  previous  regime  of  Colonel  Jean-Baptiste 
Bagaza.   Buyoya  has  freed  religious  prisoners,  reopened  the 
closed  churches,  returned  confiscated  church  properties, 
including  houses  and  schools,  authorized  workday  religious 
services,  reinstituted  the  activities  of  the  catechists,  and 
authorized  church  schools  (including  seminaries  and  literacy 
and  catechism  classes),  publications,  and  radio  broadcasts. 
Most  missionaries  who  were  expelled  are  being  allowed  to 
return,  and  there  are  no  restrictions  on  new  missionaries  for 
authorized  churches. 

The  Catholic  Church  in  particular,  plays  an  important  role  in 
the  development  of  the  country  and  in  the  lives  of  both  rural 
and  urban  Burundis.   A  visit  by  Pope  John  Paul  II  in  September 
underlined  the  dramatic  changes  in  church-state  relations 
under  the  Buyoya  regime. 

Religious  organizations  are  subject  to  the  same  rules  and 
restrictions  that  apply  to  secular  organizations.   All 
religious  associations  must  obtain  approval  from  the 
Government  to  operate  in  Burundi,  and  a  Burundi  citizen  must 
be  designated  as  legal  representative  of  each  association. 
The  approval  process,  which  includes  an  investigation  of  the 
association's  activities  in  its  home  country,  can  be  lengthy, 
though  the  Government  has  announced  that  the  law  governing 
registration,  which  dates  from  1959,  will  be  revised  to 
simplify  and  speed  up  decisions.   Recognition  has  been 
restored  to  the  Seventh-Day  Adventist  church,  which  was  banned 
under  the  Bagaza  regime,  and  has  been  granted  to  several  other 
religious  organizations  that  applied  since  the  Buyoya 
Government  came  to  power . 

Other  groups  have  applications  for  legal  status  that  are 
currently  under  review.   Among  them  are  the  Jehovah's 
Witnesses,  who  were  banned  under  the  Bagaza  regime.   A  visit 
by  an  international  delegation  of  Witnesses  in  June  1990  to 
examine  a  pattern  of  arrests  and  harassment  of  church  members 


37 


BURUNDI 

by  local  government  officials  resolved  some  issues,  but  the 
Government  still  had  not  granted  the  group  legal  status  at  the 
end  of  the  year,  allegedly  because  of  Witnesses'  refusal  to 
acknowledge  secular  authority. 

Religious  groups  may  not  engage  in  political  activity  critical 
to  the  Government.   There  are  no  barriers  to  the  maintenance 
of  links  with  coreligionists  in  other  countries. 
Participation  in  religious  life  does  not  exclude  membership  in 
the  UPRONA  or  eligibility  for  social  benefits. 

d.   Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

The  Government  has  not  instituted  nationwide  restrictions  on 
internal  travel  since  the  aftermath  of  the  August  1988  ethnic 
violence.   Since  that  time,  localized  travel  restrictions  have 
occasionally  been  enforced  in  areas  experiencing  unrest.   The 
most  recent  example  occurred  in  areas  of  Makamba  province  in 
southern  Burundi  following  the  August  13  armed  attack  on  a 
local  infantry  camp. 

The  Government's  policy  is  to  discourage  urban  migration 
through  rural  development  programs  and  a  public  education 
campaign.   A  voluntary  resettlement  program  exists  to  promote 
migration  from  densely  populated  areas  to  parts  of  the  country 
where  more  land  is  available. 

Foreign  travel  and  emigration  are  relatively  free.   In 
February  the  Government  abolished  the  requirement  that  Burundi 
citizens  who  travel  abroad  must  surrender  their  passports  to 
the  immigration  office  on  their  return  to  Burundi.   Citizens 
are  not  required  to  have  passports  for  journeys  to  neighboring 
areas  of  Rwanda  and  Zaire.   Foreigners  residing  in  Burundi 
must  have  passports  and  exit  visas  to  leave  the  country. 

All  but  approximately  1,000  of  the  more  than  50,000  Burundi 
citizens  who  fled  to  southern  Rwanda  following  the  August  1988 
ethnic  violence  have  returned  voluntarily  to  their  homes  and 
resumed  their  normal  activities.   At  year's  end  the  United 
Nations  High  Commissioner  for  Refugees  (UNHCR)  was  seeking 
permanent  homes  for  those  who  refused  to  return  to  other  areas 
of  Rwanda  and  in  Zaire. 

The  official  estimate  of  Burundi's  refugee  population  is 
267,500,  most  of  whom  are  Rwandan  Tutsis  who  have  resided  in 
Burundi  since  the  1960 's.   The  Government  works  closely  with 
the  UNHCR  in  refugee  matters  and  does  not  generally  force 
resettlement.   However,  a  group  of  approximately  100  Somalis 
who  arrived  in  Burundi  in  late  1989  were  refused  asylum  and 
placed  under  house  detention.   In  1990  the  majority  of  these 
Somali  were  persuaded  to  depart  voluntarily,  were  resettled  in 
other  countries,  including  the  United  States  or  were  deported. 

The  Government  is  working  with  the  UNHCR  to  resettle  five 
special  Rwandan  refugees  in  third  countries.   The  resettlement 
is  part  of  an  agreement  with  the  Rwanda  Government  that  the 
two  countries  each  expel  five  particular  refugees  from  the 
other  country  for  political  activities  incompatible  with  their 
refugee  status.   The  Government  occasionally  repatriates 
Rwandans  and  Zairians  who  lack  residence  permits  or  who  have 
been  arrested  on  suspicion  of  criminal  activities.   At 
present,  Burundi  citizenship  can  only  be  acquired  through 
birth  to  Burundi  parents;  however,  a  new  citizenship  law  that 
would  allow  naturalization  is  under  study. 


38 


BURUNDI 

Section  3  Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

As  of  the  end  of  1990,  citizens  did  not  have  the  legal  right 
to  change  their  government  through  democratic  procedures. 
Power  continues  to  be  wielded  by  President  Buyoya  and  the 
UPRONA.   In  May  President  Buyoya  announced  a  timetable  for 
political  reforms  in  keeping  with  the  recommendations  of  the 
National  Unity  Commission.   As  a  first  step,  a  national 
congress  convened  in  late  December,  at  which  time  the  ruling 
Military  Committee  for  National  Salvation  was  dissolved  and 
replaced  by  an  interim  UPRONA  Central  Committee. 

A  constitutional  commission  is  to  be  convened  in  early  1991, 
after  the  expected  adoption  of  the  National  Unity  Charter, 
with  the  declared  mandate  of  designing  permanent  civilian 
governmental  institutions.   In  his  announcement.  President 
Buyoya  called  for  the  commission  to  work  in  close  consultation 
with  the  people  and  to  consider,  inter  alia,  the  establishment 
of  a  multiparty  system. 

Political  participation  currently  takes  place  only  within  the 
one-party  structure,  and  voters  can  express  dissatisfaction 
only  by  voting  against  incumbents  for  party  positions.   The 
party  is  open  to  all  Burundi  citizens  supporting  its 
principles.   Both  men  and  women  are  active  members  and 
officeholders.   The  UPRONA,  together  with  its  youth,  women's, 
and  labor  affiliates,  claims  a  membership  of  approximately  1.4 
million  persons,  over  three-quarters,  of  the  adult  population. 
However,  many  registered  party  members  are  inactive. 

Section  4  Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

At  the  end  of  1990,  two  local  groups  have  applications  pending 
before  the  Government  for  recognition  as  human  rights 
organizations.   The  Government  allows  international  and 
nongovernmental  organizations  to  investigate  human  rights 
conditions  in  Burundi.   After  initially  rejecting  calls  for  an 
international  investigation  into  the  August  1988  ethnic 
violence,  it  allowed  an  extensive  survey  of  conditions  in  the 
affected  areas  by  local  U.N.  representatives.   An  Amnesty 
International  delegation  visited  Burundi  in  June  1989, 
primarily  to  investigate  the  status  of  the  detainees  arrested 
in  the  aftermath  of  the  violence.   The  ICRC,  which  established 
a  local  office  in  Bujumbura  in  June,  was  allowed  to  visit  all 
prisons  and  other  detention  facilities  in  1990. 

Section  5  Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

Historically,  the  minority  Tutsi  have  dominated  the  majority 
Hutu  people.   Serious  civil  strife  resulting  in  thousands  of 
deaths  has  erupted  between  the  two  groups  several  times  in  the 
modern  era,  most  recently  in  April  1972  and  August  1988.   In 
both  instances,  Hutus  accounted  for  a  large  majority  of  the 
victims.   Following  the  1988  ethnic  violence,  the  Government, 
with  the  support  of  the  international  community,  moved  rapidly 
to  restore  ethnic  confidence,  including  the  appointment  of  a 
National  Unity  Commission  to  recommend  fundamental  ethnic 
reforms . 

De  facto  discrimination  by  Tutsis  against  Hutus  remains  in 
many  areas  of  society,  although  it  is  not  condoned  by  law. 


39 


BURUNDI 

There  are  few  Hutus  in  the  army,  and  the  majority  of  civil 
service  jobs,  as  well  as  university  positions,  go  to  Tutsis. 
As  a  result  of  President  Buyoya ' s  ethnic  reform  efforts,  Hutus 
have  made  substantial  inroads  into  the  civil  service,  and  the 
number  of  Hutus  now  exceeds  the  number  of  Tutsis  entering 
secondary  school.   The  pace  of  integration  in  the  military 
remains  slow,  although  some  progress  was  made  in  1989  and 
1990.   Tutsis  dominate  the  modern  economic  sector,  while  in 
rural  areas  economic  opportunities  are  roughly  equivalent  for 
both  ethnic  groups . 

The  status  of  women,  who  hold  a  secondary  position  in  Burundi 
society,  is  evolving  slowly  from  traditional  patterns.   The 
suspended  constitution  provided  for  legal  equality,  and  this 
continues  to  be  respected  in  practice.   The  current  legal  code 
prohibits  polygamy  and  a  dowry  requirement,  allows  women  some 
control  over  family  matters,  and  provides  for  land  inheritance 
by  women.   However,  there  are  legal  restrictions  that  pertain 
to  women  in  several  areas,  including  the  provision  that  a 
married  woman  cannot  start  a  business  without  her  husband's 
permission.   Fewer  women  than  men  obtain  a  formal  education; 
however,  once  a  degree  is  attained,  women  can  generally  find 
suitable  employment.   The  Government  has  not  discriminated 
against  women  in  hiring,  and  the  civil  service  pay  scale  makes 
no  distinction  between  men  and  women.   Women  are  not 
significantly  represented  in  business,  the  professions,  or  at 
higher  levels  of  government,  although  the  situation  has 
improved  in  recent  years. 

Violence  against  women,  especially  wife  beating,  is  known  to 
take  place,  but  as  there  are  no  studies  available,  the  extent 
of  the  violence  is  difficult  to  quantify.   While  police  do  not 
normally  intervene  in  domestic  disputes,  severe  cases  are 
dealt  with  by  the  legal  system.   The  Government  officially 
discourages  violence  against  women  and  addresses  the  problem 
largely  through  the  Burundi  Women's  Union,  which  provides 
counseling  and,  when  deemed  necessary,  referral  to  legal 
authorities. 

Section  6  Worker  Rights 

a.   The  Right  of  Association 

Workers  do  not  have  the  right  of  association  as  defined  by  the 
International  Labor  Organization  (ILO),  and  Burundi  is 
signatory  neither  to  ILO  Convention  87  on  freedom  of 
association  nor  to  Convention  98  on  the  right  to  organize  and 
collective  bargaining.   The  UPRONA  controls  the  National  Trade 
Union  Confederation  (UTB)  and  has  institutionalized  this 
single  trade  union  structure  by  means  of  legislation.   No 
other  unions  are  allowed  by  law.   While  the  UTB ' s  constitution 
calls  for  election  of  all  officeholders  by  the  full 
membership,  its  present  leadership  was  appointed  by  President 
Buyoya.   New  leadership  is  to  be  elected  at  a  national 
conference  planned  for  1991.   The  principal  role  of  the  UTB  is 
to  serve  as  an  intermediary  between  workers  and  employers  in 
labor  matters.   Labor  policy  in  Burundi  is  formulated  by  the 
National  Labor  Council,  on  which  employers,  the  UTB,  and  the 
Ministry  of  Labor  are  represented.   The  Council  debates  labor 
issues  and  makes  policy  recommendations  to  the  Government. 

Strikes  are  permitted  only  if  authorized  by  the  Ministry  of 
Labor  after  negotiations  have  failed,  and  advocacy  of  an 
unauthorized  strike  or  lockout  is  a  criminal  offense.   The  one 
strike  repored  in  1990,  among  ship  crews  on  Lake  Tanganyika, 


40 


BURUNDI 

was  not  approved  by  the  Government,  but  no  sanctions  were 
imposed  on  the  strikers.   Public  sector  employees  are  not 
allowed  to  strike.   The  UTB  is  affiliated  with  the 
Organization  of  African  Trade  Union  Unity. 

b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

Workers  do  not  have  the  right  to  organize  outside  the  UTB. 
Collective  bargaining  is  supervised  by  the  Government.   There 
are  no  limits  to  the  issues  which  can  be  bargained  between  the 
UTB  and  the  empoyers.   However,  the  two  sides  are  bound  by 
wage  and  working  conditions  guidelines  established  by  the 
National  Labor  Council  and  approved  by  the  Government. 

To  resolve  labor  disputes  outside  of  collective  bargaining 
situations,  a  three-step  process  is  employed:   Direct 
employer-employee  negotiations  under  the  auspices  of  the  UTB; 
an  administrative  hearing  before  a  government  labor  inspector; 
and  a  legal  proceeding  before  the  Labor  Court  (or  an 
administrative  court,  in  the  case  of  public  employees),  in 
which  the  UTB  represents  the  employee  (whether  a  union  member 
or  not).   The  UTB  is  often  successful  in  forcing  employers  to 
change  their  practices  through  this  process.   The  UTB 
estimates  that  between  80,000  and  100,000  workers, 
approximately  50  percent  of  the  country's  wage-earning 
employees,  are  union  members.   Antiunion  discrimination  is 
prohibited  by  law  and  is  not  a  problem  in  practice  because  of 
the  protections  provided  to  employees  under  the  Labor  Code. 

There  are  no  export  processing  zones  in  Burundi,  and  labor 
laws  are  applied  uniformly  throughout  the  country. 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

Forced  or  compulsory  labor  is  prohibited  by  law  and  is  not 
practiced.   Burundi  has  ratified  ILO  Conventions  29  and  105 
which  deal  with  forced  labor.   The  ILO's  Committee  of  Experts 
(COE)  reiterated  in  1990  that  various  legislative  provisions 
which  call  for  imprisonment  and  an  obligation  to  work  as 
punishment  for  expressions  of  political  views  contrary  to 
those  of  the  party  are  not  in  compliance  with  Convention  105. 
The  COE  noted  the  Government's  stated  intention  to  review  the 
offending  legislation  and  to  bring  it  into  conformity  with  the 
Convention.   The  COE  also  noted  that  provisions  of  ordinances 
concerning  land  usage  are  in  violation  of  ILO  convention  29. 
The  UTB  states  that  while  many  prisoners  do  agricultural  or 
artisanal  work  to  help  feed  themselves,  there  is  no  compulsory 
convict  labor  in  Burundi. 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

In  the  modern,  urban  sector  of  the  economy,  children  under  the 
age  of  16  may  not  be  employed  in  any  capacity.   Enforcement  of 
this  minimum  age  by  inspectors  from  the  Ministry  of  Labor  is 
limited.   However,  as  a  practical  matter  in  this  poor,  largely 
rural  country,  many  children  are  obliged  by  custom  and 
circumstance  to  help  their  families  in  subsistence  agriculture. 

e.  Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

Over  90  percent  of  the  population  of  Burundi  is  engaged  in 
subsistence  agriculture.   Minimum  labor  standards  are 
established  by  the  National  Labor  Council  and  promulgated  by 
the  Government  in  the  Labor  Code,  but  these  standards  have 
relevance  primarily  for  workers  in  the  small  wage  sector  of 


41 


BURUNDI 

the  economy.   The  established  minimum  wage  rate  is  the 
equivalent  of  $1  per  day  in  the  cities  of  Bujumbura  and 
Gitega,  and  $0.87  per  day  in  smaller  towns  and  rural  areas. 
This  wage  level  is  inadequate  to  provide  a  decent  living  for 
urban  families,  who  frequently  supplement  their  income  through 
family  gardening  or  petty  commerce.   Wages  are  higher  in  the 
few  private  sector  businesses  and  in  skilled  jobs.   The 
maximum  workweek  is  fixed  by  law  at  45  hours.   Saturday 
afternoons,  Sundays,  and  holidays  are  times  of  rest,  and  civil 
servants  are  allowed  one  afternoon  per  week  for  organized 
athletic  activities.   In  the  modern  economic  sector,  minimum 
health  and  safety  standards  are  incorporated  in  the  Labor  Code 
and  are  monitored  by  the  Ministry  of  Labor.   The  enforcement 
of  these  standards  is  limited  due  to  a  lack  of  resources,  such 
as  safety  inspectors. 


42 


CAMEROON 


Political  power  in  Cameroon  is  concentrated  in  the  Presidency 
and  a  single  party,  the  Cameroon  People's  Democratic  Movement 
(CPDM).   President  Paul  Biya  is  Head  of  State  and  head  of  the 
CPDM.   The  President  makes  all  major  decisions  and  appoints 
all  Government  and  party  officials.   In  the  past,  the  National 
Assembly  did  not  initiate  bills  and  usually  approved  without 
significant  change  any  measure  proposed  by  the  Government.   In 
1990,  however,  the  Assembly  substantively  amended  several 
pieces  of  draft  legislation  affecting  human  rights. 
Cameroon's  political  system  is  influenced  by  its  ethnic  and 
linguistic  diversity,  which  includes  230  languages  and  major 
dialects  and  three  separate  European  colonial  traditions 
(German,  French,  and  British) .   French  and  English  are 
official  languages.   A  careful  balancing  act  among  the  various 
groups  within  the  Government  and  party  is  required  to  maintain 
political  cohesion,  and  this  acts  as  a  check  on  government 
power . 

Internal  security  responsibilities  are  shared  by  the  National 
Police  (Surete  Nationale),  the  national  intelligence  service 
(CENER) ,  the  Gendarmerie,  the  Ministry  of  Territorial 
Administraion,  Military  Intelligence  (SEMIL)  and,  to  a  lesser 
extent,  the  Presidential  Security  Service.   The  Ministry  of 
Territorial  Administraion  (MINAT)  is  in  charge  of  prisons,  and 
its  local-level  officials  (prefects)  play  a  key  role  in 
ensuring  order.   The  National  Police  have  the  dominant  role  in 
enforcing  internal  security  laws.   There  continue  to  be 
credible  reports  of  human  rights  abuses  committed  by  security 
forces . 

Cameroon's  per  capita  gross  domestic  product  (GDP)  of  about 
$1,010  in  1988  placed  it  among  the  middle-income  developing 
countries.   A  rise  in  oil  prices  in  1990  helped  offset  to  a 
limited  degree  continued  depression  in  the  coffee  and  cocoa 
markets,  but  preliminary  data  indicated  there  was  no  GDP 
growth  in  1990.   Cameroon's  diversified  agricultural  base, 
food  self-sufficiency,  and  government  policies  aimed  at 
promoting  food  exports  and  private-sector  growth  help  mitigate 
the  effects  of  declining  terms  of  trade  and  other  external 
difficulties . 

Human  rights  remained  circumscribed  in  1990,  but  there  was 
progress  after  midyear  toward  a  more  open  political  system. 
In  April  the  Government  arrested  and  tried  for  subversion  10 
persons  who  were  attempting  to  form  a  political  party.   In  May 
government  forces  killed  at  least  six  persons  following  a 
rally  in  support  of  an  unauthorized  party.   International 
outrage  and  mounting  domestic  pressure  led  President  Biya  to 
announce  major  reforms  in  a  June  28  speech  to  the  ruling 
CPMD .   Soon  thereafter,  the  independent  press  became 
increasingly  outspoken  and  the  official  media  less  sycophantic 
as  censorship  all  but  disappeared.   This  auspicious  trend 
toward  freer  expression  halted  abruptly  with  the  appointment 
of  a  new  Minister  of  Territorial  Administration  in  September. 
However,  laws  restricting  freedom  of  movement  were 
liberalized,  and,  at  year's  end.  President  Biya  signed  several 
measures  designed  to  open  the  political  process,  including  a 
law  laying  down  a  framework  for  multiparty  democracy. 
Although  a  new  law  governing  the  media  was  enacted,  stiff 
censorship  provisions  leave  wide  open  the  question  of  how  free 
the  press  will  be.   Also,  in  1990  the  Government  released  over 
150  persons  detained  in  connection  with  a  1984  coup  attempt 
and  several  others  convicted  of  subversion  earlier  in  the 


43 


CAMEROON 

year.   Continuing  human  rights  concerns  include  the  abuse  of 
prisoners,  harsh  prison  conditions,  arbitrary  arrest  and 
detention,  restrictions  on  freedoms  of  speech  and  assembly, 
women's  and  worker  rights,  and  the  extent  to  which  the  new 
legislation  will  truly  permit  citizens  to  change  their 
government  through  democratic  means. 

RESPECT  FOR  HUMAN  RIGHTS 

Section  1  Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.  Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

Several  instances  of  extrajudicial  killing  were  reported. 
During  the  Douala  Ten  trial  (see  Section  I.e.),  one  of  the 
defense  lawyers,  Pierre  Mbobda,  was  shot  and  killed.   Although 
public  opinion  at  the  time  held  political  motives  responsible 
for  the  killing,  an  investigation  found  no  evidence  to  support 
that  assiamption.   Reliable,  informed  sources  believe  the 
accused  killer,  an  off-duty  policeman,  acted  from  personal 
motives . 

At  least  six  persons  were  killed  when  a  unit  of  the 
Gendarmerie  opened  fire  following  a  rally  in  Bamenda  on  May  26 
in  support  of  an  unauthorized  political  party.   The  official 
government  position  is  that  those  who  died  were  trampled  to 
death  by  panicked  fellow  demonstrators.   The  Government  did, 
however,  permit  the  independent  press  to  report  the  other 
version.   There  were  persistent  reports  from  usually  reliable 
sources  that  security  forces  killed  two  students  following  a 
demonstration  the  same  day  at  the  University  of  Yaounde.   The 
Government  categorically  denied  the  allegation,  and  no  one  has 
emerged  with  names  or  other  details. 

b.  Disappearance 

There  were  no  reports  of  disappearance  during  1990. 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment 

Although  the  Penal  Code  proscribes  torture,  renders 
inadmissible  in  court  evidence  obtained  thereby,  and  prohibits 
public  servants  from  using  force  against  any  person,  there 
were  credible  reports  of  severe  beatings  and  torture  of 
persons  in  custody  during  1990.   Two  Douala  Ten  defendants 
(see  Section  i.e.),  Anicet  Ekani  and  Henriette  Ekwe,  said  in 
court  that  they  had  been  subjected  to  inhuman  treatment.   The 
prosecutor  did  not  rebut  either  claim.   Ms.  Ekwe  said  her  legs 
had  been  stretched  until  she  agreed  to  sign  a  statement,  an 
asertion  the  court  did  not  address  specifically  when  it  ruled 
that  "irregularities"  in  the  obtaining  of  some  evidence  did 
not  render  it  inadmissible.    Dominique  Djeukam  Tchameni, 
convicted  of  subversion  in  March  and  granted  amnesty  in 
August,  announced  in  an  interview  carried  on  government-owned 
television  that  he  had  been  tortured  after  his  arrest  in  1988. 

Camille  Mboua-Massock,  a  political  maverick  who  had  announced 
plans  to  hold  a  public  rally  in  support  of  President  Biya's 
reform  plans,  was  reportedly  held  for  a  week,  during  which 
time  he  was  given  no  food  and  very  little  water. 

There  were  numerous  credible  reports  that  security  forces 
searching  for  participants  in  a  May  26  demonstration  at  the 


44 


CAMEROON 

University  of  Yaounde  severely  beat  several  stUdents  and  raped 
at  least  one  woman.   Eyewitness  reports  indicated  that 
English-speaking  Cameroonians  (Anglophones)  had  been  subjected 
to  arbitrary  arrest  and  such  inhuman  conditions  of  detention 
as  being  suspended  by  their  wrists.   In  order  to  restore 
public  faith  in  the  police  force,  in  August  the  chief  of  the 
National  Police  created  an  internal  affairs  unit  responsible 
for  combating  police  abuses  against  the  public.   At  year's 
end,  the  special  brigade  had  yet  to  prosecute  any  officials 
committing  human  rights  abuses. 

In  March  Amnesty  International  (AI)  appealed  to  the  Government 
to  investigate  reports  that  two  prisoners  had  been  tortured  to 
death.   As  far  as  was  known,  no  investigation  took  place 
during  1990.   Officials  who  treat  prisoners  inhumanely  are 
rarely,  if  ever,  punished. 

Harsh  prison  conditions  are  the  rule.   Most  prisons  are 
severely  overcrowded,  notably  Nkandengui  Prison  in  Yaounde, 
and  disease  is  rampant.   Tuberculosis  and  skin  diseases  are 
particularly  common.   Prisoners  suffer  from  serious 
malnutrition  unless  provided  food  by  friends  or  family. 
Although  many  of  those  imprisoned  as  a  result  of  the  1984  coup 
attempt  were  released  (see  Section  l.d.),  most  of  the 
estimated  70  to  100  still  incarcerated  are  reportedly  ill. 
Reliable  sources  report  that  at  least  25  of  the  estimated  350 
prisoners  held  in  connection  with  the  1984  coup  attempt  died 
while  in  custody  between  1984  and  1990.   Ministry  of  Justice 
officials  in  1990  began  an  effort  to  reduce  overcrowding  by 
bringing  detainees  to  trial  more  rapidly  but  did  not  release 
minor  offenders  or  those  serving  short  terms.   The  Government 
indicated  that  financial  difficulties  precluded  construction 
of  new  prisons  in  1990. 

d.   Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

Arbitrary,  prolonged  detention  remains  a  serious  problem. 
Under  Cameroonian  law,  a  person  arrested  on  suspicion  of 
having  committed  a  nonpolitical  offense  may  be  held  in  custody 
up  to  24  hours  before  being  charged.   The  period  of  custody 
may  be  renewed  up  to  three  times  with  the  express  agreement  of 
the  Attorney-General.   However,  after  an  investigating 
magistrate  has  determined  that  the  case  should  be  brought  to 
trial  and  has  issued  a  warrant  to  that  effect,  there  is  no 
limitation  on  how  long  the  detainee  may  be  held  in  "preventive 
detention"  pending  trial. 

Accused  persons  awaiting  trial  constitute  the  majority  of 
persons  in  Yaounde  and  Douala  prisons.   Release  on  bail  is 
permitted  by  law  only  in  the  Anglophone  provinces,  whose  legal 
system  retains  features  of  British  common  law.   Even  there, 
bail  is  granted  infrequently. 

There  have  been  instances  of  local  or  provincial  authorities 
ordering  the  continued  detention  of  persons  even  after  a  court 
ordered  their  release.   CENER  and  SEMIL  do  not  implement  fully 
the  Penal  Code  requirement  that  detainees  be  brought  before  a 
magistrate  for  investigation  of  possible  offenses  and  have 
held  detainees  incommunicado.   Persons  may  also  be  held  in 
"administrative  detention"  under  legislation  pertaining  to 
subversion.   The  Penal  Code  defines  administrative  detention 
as  "the  loss  of  liberty  for  a  political  felony  or 
misdemeanor."   Such  detention  by  regional  authorities  is 
initially  for  1  month,  renewable  twice,  and  may  be  extended  up 
to  an  additional  6  months  by  the  Minister  of  Territorial 


4S 


CAMEROON 

Administration.   Those  placed  in  administrative  detention  do 
not  disappear;  their  families  are  told  where  they  are,  though 
not  always  promptly.   They  are  released  eventually,  though  the 
detention  may  be  lengthy,  in  some  cases  exceeding  the 
theoretical  maximum  of  9  months. 

State  of  Emergency  provisions,  invoked  following  the  1984  coup 
attempt,  were  allowed  to  lapse  in  1989.   There  is,  therefore, 
no  longer  a  legal  basis  for  unlimited  administrative 
detention.   However,  even  in  the  absence  of  proper  authority, 
some  administrative  authorities  continue  to  order  persons 
detained  for  indefinite  periods.   Senior  officials  state  that 
they  are  working  to  ensure  that  officials  who  once  had 
delegated  authority  to  order  such  detention  are  made  aware  of 
the  changed  circumstances.   A  new  law  governing  states  of 
emergency  explicitly  defines  the  circumstances  under  which  the 
President  can  declare  an  emergency  and  limits  the  number  of 
times  the  President  may  renew  the  declaration.   At  the  same 
time,  however,  the  new  law  grants  administrative  authorities 
substantial  arbitrary  powers  during  such  an  emergency. 

Dominique  Djeukam  Tchameni ,  a  civilian  who  was  held  for  almost 
18  months  before  being  charged  with  subversion,  was  convicted 
in  March  by  the  Yaounde  Military  Tribunal.   He  was  sentenced 
to  3  years  in  prison  but  received  presidential  amnesty  in 
August  and  was  released.   Many  of  the  persons  implicated  in 
the  1984  coup  attempt,  who  had  been  held  past  the  expiration 
of  their  sentences  or  who  had  been  detained  indefinitely  in 
spite  of  either  having  been  acquitted  or  never  having  been 
tried,  were  released  in  1990  as  the  result  of  a  presidential 
decree  issued  in  April.   Although  Cameroonian  authorities  have 
yet  to  publish  a  list  of  those  released,  it  is  estimated  that 
more  than  170  persons  have  thus  far  benefited  from  the 
decree.   However,  reliable  sources  state  that  not  all  persons 
illegally  detained  as  a  result  of  the  1984  coup  attempt  have 
been  released.   Estimates  of  the  number  still  in  detention 
range  from  8  to  20 . 

Persons  detained  are  not  normally  permitted  access  to  an 
attorney  (see  Section  i.e.)  unless  and  until  charges  are 
brought.   Until  mid-1990,  persons  were  frequently  detained  for 
having  publicly  expressed  views  differing  from  those  of  the 
Government  or  for  having  reported  news  which  might  be 
embarrassing  to  the  Government.   A  case  in  point,  reported  in 
detail  by  the  human  rights  organization  Africa  Watch,  was  the 
detention  of  several  journalists  following  demonstrations  in 
May  in  support  of  political  pluralism.   Typically,  a  detainee 
is  released  after  about  7  days.   In  the  rare  cases  when 
charges  are  brought,  they  are  usually  for  subversion.   Use  of 
this  practice  had  diminished  by  late  1990  but  had  not  ended. 

Cameroon  does  not  engage  in  the  practice  of  forced  exile. 
Early  in  his  first  term.  President  Biya  publicly  encouraged 
all  those  living  abroad  for  political  reasons  to  return  to 
Cameroon  without  fear  of  reprisal. 

e.   Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

The  Cameroonian  court  system  is  subordinate  to  the  Ministry  of 

Justice.   Thus,  it  is  part  of  the  executive,  not  a  separate  or 

independent  branch  of  government.   Magistrates  in  Cameroon  are 

career  civil  servants  responsible  to  the  Minister  of  Justice, 

and  they  are  subject,  particularly  in  political  cases,  to 
government  direction.   Their  decisions  in  nonpolitical  cases 
are  not  usually  subject  to  government  interference,  and  they 


46 


CAMEROON 

generally  are  considered  to  conduct  fair  trials.   The  Minister 
of  Justice  has  publicly  cautioned  magistrates  against  awarding 
"excessive"  damages  against  the  State,  and  there  have  been 
reported  cases  of  the  Government  refusing  to  pay  damages  when 
a  court  has  found  against  it. 

Trial  by  a  presiding  magistrate  is  provided  for  in  law,  and 
this  practice  is  followed  except  in  the  case  of  persons  held 
under  administrative  detention  or  State  of  Emergency 
regulations.   Public  trials  are  guaranteed  by  law,  although 
exceptions  are  allowed  for  the  public  good  or  for  national 
security  reasons.   Defendants  in  felony  cases  are  provided 
attorneys  if  they  cannot  afford  to  engage  their  own,  and  there 
is  a  right  to  appeal. 

Until  the  end  of  1990,  when  the  law  establishing  the  State 
Security  Court  was  promulgated,  civilians  accused  of 
subversion  or  weapons  offenses  were  tried  by  a  military 
tribunal,  the  same  body  which  has  jurisdiction  over  offenses 
committed  by  members  of  the  military.   Each  tribunal  has  three 
members,  and  its  presiding  officer  must  be  a  magistrate.   As 
in  felony  cases  tried  in  the  regular  court  system,  defendants 
are  entitled  to  counsel.   Appeals,  however,  are  rare  and,  in 
the  case  of  subversion  verdicts,  precluded.   Impartial 
observers  agree  that  the  "Douala  Ten,"  a  group  of  Cameroonians 
pressing  for  more  rapid  political  change,  were  not  accorded  a 
fair  trial  by  the  Yaounde  Military  Tribunal.   Arrested  on 
subversion  and  libel  charges  based  on  questionable  warrants, 
their  actual  offense  appears  to  have  been  an  attempt  to 
organize  a  political  party.   The  trial  was  marred  by  an 
admission  of  improperly  obtained  evidence  and  the  tribunal's 
failure  to  consider  constitutional  questions  raised  by  the 
defense.   Of  the  four  defendants  present  who  were  convicted  in 
the  April  trial,  only  two  were  sent  to  prison,  and  they  were 
released  in  August  as  the  result  of  a  presidential  amnesty. 

Traditional  courts  continue  to  play  an  important  role  in 
Cameroon,  particularly  in  rural  areas.   Their  authority  varies 
by  region  and  by  ethnic  group,  but  they  are  often  the  arbiters 
of  property  and  domestic  disputes  and  may  serve  a  probate 
function  as  well.   Most  systems  permit  appeal  of 
first-instance  decisions  to  traditional  authorities  of  higher 
rank . 

f .   Arbitrary  Interference  With  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 
Correspondence 

While  both  invasions  of  the  home  and  tampering  with 
correspondence  are  violations  of  Cameroonian  law,  there  have 
been  frequent  reports  of  police  harassing  citizens  and 
entering  homes  without  warrants  during  periodic  searches  for 
criminals.   Following  neighborhood  searches  in  Bamenda  and 
Yaounde  in  late  May,  there  were  numerous  credible  reports  of 
arbitrary  searches.   In  Bamenda,  particularly,  house-to-house 
searches  were  common,  and  there  were  several  reports  that 
members  of  security  services  raped  local  women.   Police 
officials  also  sometimes  enter  homes  and  demand  to  see 
receipts  for  household  property  as  a  customs  law  enforcement 
measure.   Surveillance  of  suspected  dissidents  and  the 
monitoring  of  their  mail  and  telephone  conversations  are 
common  practices. 


47 


CAMEROON 
Section  2  Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including: 

a.  Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

Although  the  Constitution  of  1972  provides  for  freedom  of 
expression  and  of  the  press,  Cameroonian  law  and  practice  have 
long  restricted  these  freedoms.   However,  there  was  progress 
in  relaxing  these  restrictions  in  1990. 

Formal  censorship  of  the  press  had  nearly  disappeared  by 
September,  although  newspaper  publishers  were  still  obliged  to 
submit  copy  to  administrative  authorities  for  review.   When 
Gilbert  Andze  Tsoungui  was  named  Minister  of  Territorial 
Administration  in  August,  he  restored  the  practice  of 
aggressive  and  pervasive  censorship  and  seizures.   Newspapers 
were  told  not  to  print  some  stories  alleging  official 
misconduct,  and  authorities  banned  or  delayed  local 
distribution  of  several  issues  of  respected  international 
publications,  such  as  Le  Monde  and  Jeune  Afrique.   The 
Government  contends  the  press  should  be  free  but  not 
"irresponsible."  What  constitutes  a  "responsible"  press  was 
the  subject  of  much  debate  as  1990  drew  to  a  close. 

The  new  law  on  mass  communication,  promulgated  in  December, 
provides  a  more  liberal  framework  for  the  establishment  of 
media  organs,  including  broadcast  facilities.   However,  it 
also  permits  censorship  "where  there  is  a  conflict  with  the 
principles  of  public  policy."  While  censorship  decisions  may 
be  appealed,  the  competent  court  is  not  obliged  to  rule  until 
1  month  has  elapsed — with  obvious  ramifications  for 
time-sensitive  media. 

The  Government  publishes  two  official  newspapers,  the  English 
and  French  editions  of  the  Cameroon  Tribune,  and  controls 
radio  (the  most  important  medium)  and  television.   Most 
official  journalists  are  civil  servants  who  may  be  transferred 
to  less  desirable  positions  if  they  do  not  practice 
self-censorship.   A  large  group  of  Anglophone  broadcast 
journalists  was  suspended  in  early  May  following  an  debate  on 
the  air  on  the  merits  of  greater  political  pluralism.   The 
journalists  and  other  participants  were  also  detained  from  24 
to  48  hours. 

The  risk  of  being  detained  for  pursuing  stories  critical  of 
the  Government  declined  markedly  in  the  latter  part  of  the 
year  but  remains  a  problem.   Journalists,  long  used  to 
self-censorship,  began  to  explore  the  limits  of  official 
tolerance.   Long-taboo  subjects,  such  as  official  malfeasance 
and  allegations  of  miscarriages  of  justice,  began  to  appear, 
especially  in  the  newly  resurgent  independent  press. 

There  are  no  restrictions  on  academic  freedom,  though  it  is 
generally  believed  that  CENER  informants  pervade  the  campus  of 
the  University  of  Yaounde.   There  remain  restrictions  on  some 
other  forms  of  public  speech  (see  Section  i.e.). 

b.  Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

Freedom  of  assembly  and  association  are  provided  for  in  the 
Constitution  but  are  restricted  in  law  and  practice.   A  new 
law  promulgated  toward  the  end  of  1990  liberalized 
Cameroonians '  ability  to  form  private  associations.   The  Penal 
Code  prohibits  public  meetings,  demonstrations,  or  processions 
without  prior  government  approva^l .   While  permits  are  almost 
never  denied,  neither  are  they  issued.   Large  public  meetings 


48 


CAMEROON 

in  which  the  Government  or  ruling  party  plays  no  role  are 
virtually  unknown. 

When  organizers  of  the  Social  Democratic  Front  (SDF)  sought 
permission  to  hold  a  rally  in  late  May,  authorities  never 
specifically  refused,  choosing  instead  to  ban  all  public 
gatherings.   Another  tactic  administrative  authorities  have 
used  is  to  pressure  the  organizer  into  canceling  the  planned 
event  and  putting  him  into  detention  if  he  refuses  to 
acquiesce  as,  for  example,  in  the  case  of  Mboua  Massock  (see 
Section  I.e.). 

Organizations,  including  religious  congregations,  must 
register  with  the  Government.   Throughout  1990,  any  form  of 
political  organization  other  than  the  CPDM  was  prohibited  from 
functioning  effectively,  though  the  SDF  carried  out  some 
low-level  organizing  late  in  the  year.   President  Biya 
promulgated  a  new  law  in  December  which  provides  a  framework 
for  the  organization  and  operation  of  political  parties.   The 
new  law  establishes  objective  criteria  that  parties  must  meet 
if  they  are  to  be  authorized  and  also  requires  that 
administrative  authorities  respond  in  writing  within  3  months 
to  requests  to  organize  parties.   There  are  few  restrictions 
on  how  parties  may  organize,  but  appeals  to  tribalism  and 
programs  that  call  national  unity  and  "national  integration" 
into  question  are  among  proscribed  activities. 

c.   Freedom  of  Religion 

Cameroon  is  a  secular  state.   There  is  no  established 
religion.   Roughly  25  percent  of  Cameroonians  are  Muslims,  40 
percent  are  Christians,  and  the  rest  follow  traditional 
beliefs.   Some  blend  elements  of  Christianity  with  traditional 
practices.   Officials  of  the  Government  and  the  CPDM  include 
members  of  all  three  groups.   Freedom  of  religion  is  provided 
for  in  the  Constitution,  but  a  religious  group  must  be 
approved  and  registered  with  the  Ministry  of  Territorial 
Administration  in  order  to  exist  and  function  legally.   There 
have  been  instances  in  the  past  of  a  small  group's  application 
being  rejected  on  the  grounds  that  it  was  too  nearly  identical 
to  an  existing  group.   The  Jehovah's  Witnesses  were  banned  in 
1970  and  have  been  periodic  targets  of  harassment  since  that 
time.   However,  government  authorities  stated  that  Witnesses 
could  expect  this  harassment  to  cease  once  legislation  on 
public  liberties  was  enacted.   These  laws  entered  into  force 
in  late  December,  but  it  was  too  early  to  determine  their 
effect  upon  the  religious  freedom  of  Witnesses.   While  there 
have  been  isolated  incidents  of  religious  intolerance,  the 
Government  discourages  such  acts,  and  most  Cameroonians  are 
proud  of  their  tradition  of  religious  harmony. 

The  Government  does  not  discourage  the  practice  of  traditional 
religions.   Acts  of  witchcraft,  divination,  or  magic  "liable 
to  disrupt  public  order  or  tranquility,  or  to  harm  persons  or 
property"  are  outlawed,  with  potential  penalties  of  up  to  10 
years'  imprisonment.   Missionaries  played  a  major  role  in  the 
development  of  Cameroon  and  continue  to  be  active.   Foreign 
clergy  suffer  no  ill-treatment.   There  are  no  particular 
restrictions  on  places  of  worship,  the  training  of  clergy, 
religious  education,  or  participation  in  charitable 
activities.  Conversions  are  common.   Independent  Christian  and 
Muslim  publications  exist  in  Cameroon,  and  there  is  no 
evidence  they  are  more  heavily  censored  than  is  the  secular 
press. 


49 


CAMEROON 

d.   Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

Freedom  of  movement  within  the  country  is  not  restricted  by 
law.   Police  occasionally  stop  travelers  to  check 
identification  documents,  vehicle  registrations,  and  tax 
receipts  as  a  security  and  immigration  control  measure,  but 
the  checks  are  not  normally  pervasive  or  oppressive.   The 
requirement  for  Cameroonians  and  foreigners  married  to 
Cameroonians  to  obtain  exit  visas  before  departing  the  country 
was  abolished  in  August,  though  some  other  resident  foreigners 
are  still  subject  to  the  requirement.   As  many  as  10  percent 
of  Cameroonian  residents  claim  Nigerian  nationality;  they  and 
nationals  of  some  other  African  states  are  accorded  free 
movement  on  the  basis  of  national  identity  cards  in  lieu  of 
passports. 

The  Government  has  been  known  to  refuse  issuance  of  a  passport 
or  to  confiscate  a  passport  in  order  to  control  someone  it 
considers  a  real  or  potential  threat.   SDF  Secretary-General 
Zacharias  Siga  Asanga  had  his  passport  seized  and  was  detained 
briefly  under  humiliating  conditions  in  what  SDF  supporters 
claim  was  a  government  attempt  to  intimidate  potential 
members.   There  are  no  restrictions  on  voluntary  repatriation, 
and  there  is  no  forced  resettlement.   Foreigners'  entry  into 
Cameroon  was  also  eased  as  a  result  of  the  August  decree. 

Over  the  years,  Cameroon  has  served  as  a  safe  haven  for 
thousands  of  displaced  persons  and  refugees.   Approximately 
35,000  refugees  remain  in  Cameroon,  the  majority  of  them 
Chadian.   The  United  Nations  High  Commissioner  for  Refugees 
(UNHCR)  recognizes  about  3,500,  most  of  them  Chadian  or 
Namibian.   Following  the  fall  of  the  Habre  regime  in  December, 
about  3,000  new  Chadian  refugees  were  residing  in  temporary 
camps  in  northern  Cameroon  pending  UNHCR  recognition 
proceedings  and  location  of  a  longer-term  site.   A  large 
contingent  of  those  who  had  fled  Habre  years  before  was 
planning  to  return  to  Chad  at  the  end  of  1990.   Though 
Cameroon  occasionally  returns  illegal  Chadian  immigrants, 
there  were  no  reports  of  forced  repatriation  of  recognized 
refugees  in  1990. 

Section  3   Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

Major  legal  changes  effected  late  in  the  year,  if  fully 
implemented,  would  permit  a  return  to  the  multiparty  system 
abandoned  in  1966.   However,  at  the  end  of  1990,  Cameroon 
continued  to  be  a  one-party  state  with  political  power  and 
administrative  authority  concentrated  in  the  Presidency.   The 
President  appoints  all  cabinet  members,  governors,  and 
prefects.   President  Biya  succeeded  constitutionally  to  the 
office  of  president  upon  the  resignation  of  his  predecessor, 
the  late  Ahmadou  Ahidjo,  and  was  elected  unopposed  in  1984  and 
1988. 

While  the  Constitution  does  not  explicitly  exclude  the 
existence  of  other  political  parties,  only  the  CPDM  was 
permitted  to  have  a  legal  existence  at  the  end  of  1990. 
Membership  in  the  CPDM  is  open  to  all  religious  and  ethnic 
groups  and  is  strongly  encouraged.   During  1990,  at  least  two 
political  parties  sought  legal  recognition,  and  other  groups 
stated  their  intention  to  do  so.   While  permission  was  never 
formally  denied,  authorities  resorted  to  intimidation  and 
force  to  prevent  these  nascent  organizations  from 


36-976  0-91 


50 


CAMEROON 

functioning.   Opposition  groups  in  exile,  including  various 
factions  of  the  long-banned  Union  of  Cameroonian  Peoples 
(UPC),  periodically  send  letters  or  pamphlets  into  the  country 
or  are  heard  on  foreign  radio  broadcasts.   Representatives  of 
four  such  groups  in  mid-1990  announced  formation  of  the 
umbrella  Cameroon  Democratic  Front  (FDC) .   Some  former  UPC 
members  are  now  active  in  the  CPDM. 

International  and  domestic  pressure  to  open  the  political 
system  increased  during  1990  and  became  particularly  intense 
following  the  Douala  Ten  trial  in  April  and  the  killing  of  SDF 
supporters  in  May.   At  the  same  time,  continued  stagnation  in 
the  economy  led  many  Cameroonians  to  seek  redress  of  economic 
problems  through  changes  in  the  political  system.   The 
Government  responded  to  this  pressure  in  December  1990  by 
enacting  a  new  law  setting  the  ground  rules  for  a  multiparty 
system 

All  members  of  the  180-seat  National  Assembly  were  members  of 
the  CPDM  at  the  end  of  1990,  although  new  legislation  foresees 
members  of  other  parties  joining  the  Assembly  as  Cameroon 
institutes  a  multiparty  system.   The  next  legislative 
elections  are  not  required  until  1993.   Voting  is  by  universal 
adult  suffrage  and  secret  ballot.   The  1988  elections  took 
place  with  few  irregularities  and  no  allegations  of  fraud. 
Until  recently,  debate  in  the  National  Assembly  had  remained 
within  narrow,  usually  technical  bounds.   During  the  June 
session,  a  controversial  bill  provoked  sharper  than  usual 
debate.   The  November  session  saw  spirited  debate  on  several 
issues,  sharp  questions  put  to  ministers,  and  major 
substantive  amendments  made  to  bills  submitted  by  the 
Government.   However,  members  of  the  National  Assembly 
continue  to  feel  compelled  not  to  reject  goverment  proposals 
outright . 

Section  4  Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

There  are  no  internal  governmental  or  independent  human  rights 
organizations;  however,  the  Bar  Association  has  on  occasion 
discussed  human  rights  concerns  with  government  officials.   In 
late  1990  President  Biya  issued  a  decree  setting  up  a 
"National  Human  Rights  Committee."   The  President  will  name 
committee  members  to  fixed  5-year  terms,  and  the  Committee  is 
to  enjoy  "financial  and  legal  independence"  from  the 
Government.   As  of  year's  end,  committee  members  had  not  yet 
been  named.   The  Government  does  not  usually  respond  publicly 
or  privately  to  inquiries  from  any  human  rights  organization. 

Section  5  Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language  or  Social  Status 

Access  to  the  Government's  social  programs  is  open  to  all 
Cameroonian  citizens  on  a  nondiscriminatory  basis.   President 
Biya  has  repeatedly  stressed  publicly  the  dangers  of 
tribalism,  but  there  remains  deep-seated  suspicion  among 
ethnic  groups  to  which  government  officials  are  not  immune. 
Cameroon  is  officially  bilingual,  but  Anglophones  are  a 
distinct  minority  (20  percent)  and  often  charge  that  the 
majority  Francophones  discriminate  against  them  by  denying 
them  economic  opportunity  and  a  share  of  real  political  power 
commensurate  with  their  numbers.   The  Francophone  Bamileke, 
the  country's  largest  single  ethnic  group  (between  15  and  20 
percent  of  the  population),  level  similar  charges  against  the 


51 


CAMEROON 

rest  of  the  body  politic.   In  the  aftermath  of  the  May 
demonstrations  in  Bamenda  and  Yaounde,  a  senior  official  of 
both  the  Government  and  the  CPDM  referred  to  Anglophones  as 
the  enemy  in  the  Gamer ooni an  house,  and  the  government-owned 
Cameroon  Tribune  printed  fabrications  that  students 
demonstrating  at  the  University  of  Yaounde  had  sung  the 
Nigerian  national  anthem  as  they  marched,  characterizing  the 
alleged  singing  as  "high  treason."   While  subsequent  articles 
and  statements  by  government  officials  were  milder,  the 
initial  remarks  were  neither  retracted  nor  renounced. 
Meanwhile,  security  forces  in  various  places  throughout  the 
country  reportedly  targeted  Nigerians  and  Anglophone 
Cameroonians  for  harassment. 

Women  are  granted  equal  rights  under  the  Constitution,  and 
some  are  politically  active  in  the  party  and  the  sole  labor 
federation.   However,  significant  cultural  pressure  is  brought 
to  bear  on  women  to  remain  subservient  to  men.   In  early  1990, 
the  Minister  of  Social  and  Women's  Affairs  called  for  the 
repeal  of  the  statute  requiring  a  married  woman  to  obtain  her 
husband's  permission  before  traveling  outside  the  country. 
New  travel  regulations  announced  in  August  eliminated  the  need 
for  a  woman  to  have  this  permission  before  obtaining  a 
passport  or  traveling  abroad.   Though  part  of  a  larger  package 
of  reforms,  this  change  was  apparently  a  response  to  demands 
for  equal  treatment  of  women.   Polygamy  is  permitted  by  law 
and  tradition,  but  polyandry  is  not.   The  extent  to  which  a 
woman  may  inherit  from  her  husband  is  normally  governed  by 
customary  law  in  the  absence  of  a  will,  and  traditions  vary 
from  group  to  group. 

In  many  traditional  societies,  custom  grants  greater  authority 
and  benefits  to  male  than  to  female  heirs.   The  percentage  of 
female  secondary  school  students  increased  45  percent  between 
1970  and  1986.   Girls  made  up  45.7  percent  of  primary  school 
pupils  in  1986,  but  their  percentage  drops  to  38.3  percent  at 
the  secondary  level.   Women  are  also  disadvantaged  in  access 
to  higher  education  (14  percent  of  students)  and  professional 
opportunities.   Regional  differences  in  access  to  education 
continue  to  exist,  though  progress  toward  reducing  them  has 
been  made  in  recent  years. 

Hospital  reports  of  admissions  of  battered  women  in  recent 
years  indicate  declining  violence  against  women,  at  least  in 
urban  areas.   While  there  are  no  reliable  statistics  on  the 
extent  to  which  such  violence  occurs,  newspaper  articles  and 
letters  to  the  editor  indicate  widespread  acceptance  of  the 
practice.   In  crimes  of  passion,  men  are  sometimes  treated 
lightly  by  the  courts.   Violence  directed  against  women  in 
other  than  a  domestic  context  is  not  a  major  problem.   Female 
circumcision  is  not  common  in  Cameroon.   It  is  practiced  by  a 
limited  number  of  traditional  Muslim  families  and  is  almost 
unheard  of  in  other  groups.   There  is  no  evidence  of  "dowry 
deaths . " 

Interest  in  the  formation  of  women's  rights  groups  is  growing, 
but  they  are  not  yet  a  major  force  in  Cameroonian  national 
life.   The  women's  wing  of  the  CPDM  has  developed  programs  to 
encourage  the  economic  and  social  productivity  of  Cameroonian 
women.   In  April  the  CPDM  constitution  was  modified  to  allow 
women  to  be  elected  as  executive  members,  although  no  women 
were  elected  as  officers  of  the  party.   But  the  measure  may 
prove  to  be  counterproductive  if  the  dynamic  women's  wing  of 
the  party  is  weakened  by  a  migration  of  influential  women  from 
the  women's  wing  to  the  more  powerful  CPDM.   Four  women  were 


52 


CAMEROON 

elected  to  the  Central  Committee  (among  the  50  at  large 
members)  and  women  hold  some  other  positions  in  the  party.   On 
the  other  hand,  over  the  past  5  years,  the  number  of  women 
ministers  and  secretaries  of  state  has  dropped  from  four  to 
one.   Progress  toward  more  equal  representation  in  the  ruling 
party  is  being  made,  but  slowly. 

Women  have  met  fewer  obstacles  in  entering  the  modern  wage 
sector,  but  few  are  in  leadership  positions. 

Section  6  Worker  Rights 

a.  The  Right  of  Association 

The  Labor  Code  recognizes  the  right  of  workers  to  establish 
trade  unions  without  prior  authorization  and  to  join  trade 
unions  of  their  choosing.   In  practice,  however,  Cameroonians 
are  not  free  to  form  and  join  unions  of  their  own  choosing, 
since  there  is  only  one  umbrella  organization  in  the  country, 
the  Organization  of  United  Cameroonian  Workers  (OSTC) .   It 
operates  parallel  to  the  CPDM,  and  trade  unions  in  the  country 
are  subordinate  to  the  OSTC.   It  is  not  clear  to  what  extent 
the  new  law  on  freedom  of  association  may  open  the  door  to 
independent  unions.   The  top  union  leadership  is  nominated  by 
the  Government.   The  OSTC  permitted  multiple  candidates  to  run 
in  worker  delegate  elections  in  late  1987  and  early  1988,  but 
it  retains  the  right  to  approve  candidacies,  thus  assuring 
political  orthodoxy.   The  OSTC  does  not  play  a  major  role  in 
Cameroonian  politics,  although  it  has  a  membership  of 
approximately  450,000  in  a  working  population  of  more  than  3 
million.   It  seeks  to  explain  government  policies  to  workers, 
pursues  grievances,  and  seeks  improvements  in  government 
programs  for  worker  safety  and  training.   Civil  servants  are 
not  permitted  to  join  unions. 

Strikes  are  illegal,  and  political  activity  by  trade  unions, 
except  for  action  designed  to  protect  economic  and  other 
interests,  is  prohibited.   Strikes  do  occur,  however,  though 
they  are  usually  directed  at  single  enterprises  and  seldom 
last  more  than  a  few  days.   The  OSTC  is  a  member  of  the 
Organization  of  African  Trade  Union  Unity.   The  OSTC  maintains 
contact  with  foreign  trade  union  organizations,  including  the 
American  Federation  of  Labor-Congress  of  Industrial 
Organizations,  but  such  contact  requires  government 
authorization. 

The  International  Labor  Organization's  (ILO)  Committee  of 
Experts  noted  in  1989  that  various  legislative  provisions, 
which  regulate  the  right  of  public  servants  to  organize, 
restrict  their  right  to  strike,  and  ban  foreign  workers  from 
trade  union  office,  are  inconsistent  with  ILO  Convention  87  on 
freedom  of  association. 

b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

Although  the  Labor  Code  recognizes  the  right  of  trade  unions 
or  trade  union  federations  to  engage  in  collective  bargaining 
with  employers  or  groups  of  employers,  true  collective 
bargaining  between  employers  and  workers  is  rare,  owing  to  the 
small  size  of  the  modern  industrial  sector,  the  small  number 
of  large  employers,  and  the  involvement  of  the  Government  in 
the  process.   Under  the  law,  all  employers  of  more  than  10 
workers  must  permit  the  election  of  a  worker  representative 
from  among  the  employees.   This  worker  representative  has  a 
statutory  right  to  discuss  labor  conditions  with  the  employer 


53 


CAMEROON 

on  behalf  of  the  employees  and  enjoys  special  protection  from 
arbitrary  dismissal.   Candidates  for  these  positions  must  be 
approved  by  the  OSTC . 

Minimum  wage  rates  are  determined  by  a  complex  formula  which 
takes  into  account  geographic  location,  education,  experience, 
and  profession.   The  Ministry  of  Labor  is  responsible  for 
making  the  necessary  calculations. 

There  are  no  export  processing  zones  in  Cameroon,  but  one  is 
in  the  formative  stages.   Legislation  enacted  to  govern 
operations  within  such  zones  places  no  additional  restrictions 
on  unions,  and  employers  are  required  to  respect  ILO 
conventions . 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

Forced  labor  is  prohibited  by  the  Labor  Code.   In  respect  of 
Cameroonian  compliance  with  conventions  prohibiting  forced 
labor,  the  ILO's  Committee  on  the  Application  of  Standards  in 
1990  took  note  of  the  dissolution  of  the  National  Civic 
Service  (mandatory  national  service  by  university  graduates) 
but  remarked  that  the  Government  had  made  no  concrete 
commitments  in  respect  of  the  Committee's  concerns  on  prison 
labor.   The  Committee  also  sought  further  explanation 
regarding  the  use  of  unpaid  communal  labor  for  municipal 
projects.   There  have  been  reports  of  communal  labor  being 
employed  in  some  traditional  societies. 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

The  Labor  Code  sets  the  minimum  working  age  at  14,  a  rule  that 
appears  to  be  respected  and  enforced  in  the  modern  wage 
sector.  Inspectors  from  the  Ministry  of  Labor  are  empowered  to 
enforce  provisions  of  Cameroon's  Labor  Code,  as  are  labor 
courts.   In  rural  areas  where  farming  occupies  80  percent  of 
Cameroon's  citizens,  children  participate  at  early  ages  in 
agricultural  work  alongside  adults.   In  addition,  young 
relatives,  especially  girls  from  rural  areas,  are  often 
employed  in  the  household  as  domestics.   Street  vendors  in 
urban  areas  are  occasionally  under  age  14. 

e.  Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

Under  the  labor  code,  the  minimum  annual  paid  vacation  is  18 
days,  and  the  legal  workweek  ranges  from  40  hours  for 
nonagricultural  employees  to  56  hours  per  week  for  security 
guards.   In  order  to  make  room  for  younger  workers,  civil 
servants  are  encouraged  to  retire  upon  reaching  the  minimum 
retirement  age  of  55.   Minimum  monthly  wages  are  set  by  the 
Government  for  all  public  and  private  sector  jobs.   Minimum 
wage  rates,  which  range  from  the  equivalent  of  $65  to  $124  per 
month,  are  based  on  geographic  zones  and  type  of  industry. 
Most  workers  in  the  modern  sector  are  paid  well  in  excess  of 
the  minimum  wage.   The  lowest  wages  are  insufficient  to 
support  a  family,  but  usually  are  supplemented  by  a  second  job 
or  another  family  member's  earnings.   Workers  with 
middle-range  wages  also  are  likely  to  need  second  incomes  to 
support  a  family,  especially  in  Yaounde  and  Douala.   The 
Ministry  of  Labor  sets  health  and  safety  standards,  and  they 
are  enforced  by  labor  inspectors. 


54 


CAPE  VERDE 


The  African  Party  for  the  Independence  of  Cape  Verde  (PAICV) 
has  ruled  the  country  since  its  independence  from  Portugal  in 
1975.   In  1990  the  Government  announced  major  political 
reforms  for  the  future,  and  in  October  the  National  Assembly 
legalized  political  opposition  parties.   However,  the  Assembly 
also  passed  enhanced  powers  for  President  Aristides  Pereira, 
who  earlier  had  resigned  as  Secretary  General  of  the  PAICV. 
The  campaign  began  on  December  5  for  legislative  elections  to 
be  held  in  January  1991.   Also,  at  year's  end  preparations 
continued  for  presidential  elections  in  February  1991. 

Cape  Verde  faces  no  obvious  external  threats  to  national 
security,  and  the  Government  in  1990  moved,  through  a  major 
reorganization,  to  distance  the  military  and  security  forces 
from  the  political  party  apparatus.   The  defense  portfolio  was 
given  to  the  Prime  Minister,  and  a  Secretary  of  State  for  the 
Armed  Forces  was  created.   The  armed  forces  were  tasked 
primarily  with  the  protection  of  Cape  Verde's  exclusive 
economic  zone,  drug  interdiction,  and  counterterrorism. 
Internal  security  and  police  forces  were  transferred  to  the 
Ministry  of  Rural  Development,  Fisheries  and  Internal 
Administration,  which  gave  local  police  forces  considerable 
autonomy  from  the  central  Government. 

Cape  Verde  has  few  exploitable  natural  resources,  aside  from 
an  attractive  climate,  a  hardworking  population,  and  a 
strategically  placed  geographic  position.   Cape  Verdeans  have 
a  long  history  of  economically  driven  emigration,  primarily  to 
Western  Europe  and  the  United  States.   Development  efforts  for 
the  resident  population  of  350,000  were  thwarted  by  a  20-year 
drought,  but  summer  rains  over  the  past  4  years  have  brought 
some  improvements  in  the  agricultural  sector.   The  Government 
controls  banking,  imports  of  most  basic  commodities,  airlines, 
the  press,  and  schools.   However,  new  codes  of  industry  and 
foreign  investment  enacted  in  1989  ushered  in  a  more  liberal 
economic  policy.   In  1990  government  decrees  created  the  legal 
basis  for  a  free  trade  zone  and  established  a  foreign 
investment  center  for  marketing  promotion,  research  and  policy 
analysis,  investor  advisory  services,  and  training  to  support 
private  sector  initiatives.   Private  property  rights  are 
respected. 

In  1990  the  human  rights  climate  in  Cape  Verde  improved  with 
efforts  by  reform  minded  elements  in  the  PAICV  to  move  toward 
a  more  representative  political  system  in  1991.   While  the 
Government  and  PAICV  leaders  clearly  intended  to  guide  the 
change,  opposition  forces  contributed  importantly  to  bringing 
about  significant  reform  of  the  political  system  and  to 
effectively  expanding  the  boundaries  of  freedom  of  speech, 
press,  assembly,  and  association.   An  agreement  between  the 
PAICV  and  the  MPD,  subsequently  enacted  into  law  by  the 
National  Assembly,  created  an  independent  body  to  monitor 
government-owned  print  media  and  granted  ecfual  and  free  access 
to  the  electronic  media  during  election  campaigns.   There  were 
no  reports  of  politically  motivated  deaths  or  police  brutality 
during  the  past  year.   No  political  prisoners  are  being  held. 


55 


CAPE  VERDE 

RESPECT  FOR  HUMAN  RIGHTS 

Section  1  Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.  Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

There  were  no  reported  instances  of  political  or  extrajudicial 
killings  in  1990. 

b.  Disappearance 

There  were  no  reported  instances  of  officially  inspired 
disappearances . 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment 

Police  brutality  has  been  a  problem  in  past  years.   However, 
in  1990  there  were  no  reported  instances  or  evidence  of 
torture  and  other  cruel,  inhuman,  or  degrading  treatment  or 
punishment . 

d.  Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

Cape  Verdean  law  requires  that  an  accused  person,  unless 
caught  in  the  act  of  committing  a  crime,  be  brought  before  a 
judge  to  be  charged  within  48  hours  of  arrest.   Additionally, 
a  person  may  not  be  arrested  without  court  order  unless  caught 
in  the  act  of  committing  a  felony.   In  exceptional  cases,  with 
the  concurrence  of  a  court  official,  the  formal  charge  process 
may  be  delayed  up  to  5  days  after  the  arrest.   However,  for 
crimes  against  state  security,  persons  may  be  detained  for  up 
to  5  months  without  trial  upon  a  judge's  ruling.   This 
loophole  is  occasionally  abused,  and  cases  of  arbitrary  arrest 
by  members  of  the  "Popular  Militia,"  a  voluntary  paramilitary 
party  organization,  occur  periodically.   There  were  no  known 
security  detentions  in  1990.   There  is  a  functioning  system  of 
bail,  and  everyone  is  entitled  to  representation  by  an 
attorney  in  civil  or  criminal  cases.   Those  unable  to  afford 
legal  counsel  are  represented  by  lawyers  named  by  the  lawyers' 
association. 

There  were  no  known  instances  of  forced  exile  for  political  or 
other  reasons. 

e.  Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

The  judicial  system  is  composed  of  the  Supreme  Court,  whose 
members  are  appointed  by  the  Government,  regional  courts,  and 
local  popular  courts.   The  autonomous  Institute  for  Judicial 
Support,  to  which  most  private  lawyers  belong,  provides 
counsel  for  indigent  defendants.   Trials  are  conducted  by  one 
judge,  without  a  jury,  and  appear  to  be  handled  expeditiously. 
Trials  are  public,  and  evidence  suggests  that  the  courts 
protect  individual  rights  in  most  criminal  cases.  Verdicts  can 
be  appealed.   Popular  tribunals  adjudicate  minor  disputes  on  a 
local  level  in  rural  areas.   The  "judges,"  appointees  of  the 
Ministry  of  Justice,  are  usually  prominent  local  citizens 
without  legal  training.   Decisions  can  be  appealed  within  the 
regular  court  system. 

There  were  no  known  political  prisoners  in  at  the  end  of  1990. 


56 


CAPE  VERDE 

f.   Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 
Correspondence 

The  Constitution  recognizes  citizens'  rights  to  the 
inviolability  of  domicile,  correspondence,  and  other  means  of 
communication,  and  these  rights  are  respected  in  practice. 
The  law  requires  warrants  issued  by  a  judge  before  searches  of 
homes  may  be  conducted.   The  Constitution  has  a  provision  that 
every  citizen  has  the  right  and  the  duty  to  participate  in  the 
political,  economic,  and  cultural  life  of  the  country.   While 
in  theory  this  provision  could  be  used  to  force  participation 
against  one's  will,  there  was  no  evidence  of  this. 

Section  2  Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including: 

a.   Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

The  Constitution  proclaims  freedom  of  speech  and  intellectual 
creativity,  including  the  rights  of  authorship.   However,  it 
also  stipulates  that  none  of  these  rights  and  freedoms  may  be 
exercised  "contrary  to  national  unity."   While  freedom  of  the 
press  is  not  a  specific  constitutional  guarantee,  a  law 
adopted  in  December  1985  assures  citizens  the  right  to  express 
their  thoughts  in  the  press  in  a  responsible  manner.   Although 
the  term  "responsible  manner"  is  not  defined  in  law,  no 
journalist  or  newspaper  has  been  punished  for  actions 
considered  to  be  irresponsible. 

The  National  Assembly  met  in  three  extraordinary  sessions  in 
1990  to  legitimize  the  Government's  decision  to  move  to  a 
multiparty  system  and  to  define  the  modalities  of  the 
transition.   Assembly  debates  were  lively,  the  voice  of 
dissent  was  heard,  and  not  all  PAICV  proposals  were  accepted. 
The  sessions  were  broadcast  live  on  national  radio.   Summaries 
of  the  Assembly's  activities  appeared  in  the  press  and  on  the 
evening  television  news. 

In  October  the  National  Assembly  approved  three  proposals 
submitted  by  the  Government  that  were  based  on  an  agreement 
between  the  PAICV  and  the  MDP  on  journalism  and  the  media. 
These  laws  established  (I)  an  independent  Council  of  Mass 
Communication  to  guarantee  freedom  of  the  press  and  equal 
access  to  the  media  by  all  political  parties;  (2)  a  code  of 
ethics  for  journalists  which,  among  other  things,  safeguards 
the  confidentiality  of  sources;  and  (3)  equal  access  to 
national  electronic  media  for  all  political  parties  for 
predetermined  periods  of  time  during  election  campaigns. 

The  Council  of  Mass  Communication  is  an  independent  body 
composed  of  nine  representatives;   three  from  the  Government , 
including  one  from  the  the  Ministry  of  Justice,  three  from  the 
National  Assembly,  two  journalists  from  the  Association  of 
Journalists,  and  one  representative  of  all  mass  communications 
institutions.   For  the  transition  period  only,  the  Council 
will  consist  of  four  members:   a  presiding  official  from  the 
Ministry  of  Justice  and  three  journalists  nominated  by  the 
President  of  the  Republic. 

In  the  latter  months  of  1990,  the  most  widely  read  newspaper, 
the  radio,  and  the  television,  all  government  owned,  attempted 
to  give  balanced  coverage  to  government  and  opposition 
viewpoints.   Local  radio  broadcasts  carry  items  from  Western 
press  agencies  as  well  as  from  Eastern  European  countries, 
generally  balancing  coverage  and  identifying  sources  on 
controversial  international  issues. 


57 


CAPE  VERDE 

In  1990  the  Council  of  Ministers  passed  a  decree  giving  all 
political  groups  access  to  the  media.   Radio  and  television 
provide  coverage  for  both  the  PAICV  and  the  opposition.   As 
Cape  Verde  moved  toward  a  multiparty  system,  articles  critical 
of  government  figures  and  policy  became  freqiient.   The  major 
opposition  party  now  publishes  and  circulates  its  own 
newspaper . 

Despite  the  changing  climate,  on  at  least  one  occasion  in  1990 
the  Government  summoned  one  of  the  reporters  of  the 
government-controlled  VozdiPovo,  known  to  be  a  member  of  the 
opposition,  to  explain  his  views,  which  were  critical  of  the 
PAICV,  before  a  civil  court.   He  was  not  prosecuted.   In  June 
VozdiPovo  failed  to  publish  an  interview  with  the  principal 
opposition  leader.   Amid  accusations  of  government  censorship, 
the  interview  was  subsequently  published,  with  the  VozdiPovo ' s 
editor  attributing  the  delay  to  editorial  privilege. 

A  monthly  newspaper  published  by  a  group  of  Catholic  priests 
has  existed  for  over  10  years.   While  frequently  critical  of 
the  Government  and  the  PAICV,  it  has  been  tolerated.   Foreign 
periodicals  generally  circulate  freely  in  Cape  Verde  even  when 
they  contain  articles  critical  of  the  Government.,  Generally, 
international  radio  broadcasts  are  received  without 
interference. 

b.  Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

The  1980  Constitution  provided  for  the  freedom  to  assemble, 
associate,  and  demonstrate;  however,  in  practice  these 
freedoms  were  limited  to  PAICV  meetings  and  groups.   In  1990 
the  National  Assembly  adopted  a  law  permitting  political 
associations  to  form  and  assemble  publicly,  and  subsequently 
it  legalized  political  opposition  parties.   By  the  end  of 
1990,  there  were  two  legitimate  political  opposition  parties, 
the  MPD  and  the  Uniao  Cabo  Verdiana  Independente  E  Democratica 
(UCID) .   The  MPD,  which  emerged  as  the  viable  opponent  to  the 
PAICV,  held  rallies  and  meetings  throughout  Cape  Verde. 
Despite  instances  of  minor  squabbles  between  MPD  and  PAICV 
supporters,  by  and  large  the  authorities  did  not  interfere. 
Permits  are  needed  for  public  meetings.   They  were  routinely 
granted  throughout  the  year. 

Sports  and  religious  youth  groups,  as  well  as  private  and 
professional  associations,  exist.   Government  authorization  is 
required  in  order  to  establish  an  association. 

c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

The  Constitution  requires  separation  of  church  and  state. 
Freedom  of  worship  was  respected  by  the  Government;  members  of 
all  faiths  practiced  their  religion  without  harassment.   While 
at  least  two-thirds  of  the  population,  including  much  of  the 
government  leadership,  is  nominally  Catholic,  that  did  not 
adversely  affect  other  faiths.   Evangelical  Protestants  and 
Seventh-Day  Adventists  are  two  other  significant  religious 
communities . 

At  least  two  faiths,  the  Baha ' i  and  Christian  Science,  banned 
or  suppressed  under  Portuguese  colonial  rule,  have  been 
reestablished  since  independence.   There  are  no  restrictions 
on  religious  practices,  teaching,  or  contacts  with 
coreligionists  outside  Cape  Verde.   The  Catholic  Church,  for 
example,  openly  opposes  birth  control  methods  which  are 
advocated  and  supported  by  the  Government .   Foreign 


58 


CAPE  VERDE 

missionaries  operate  freely  in  Cape  Verde;  more  than  half  of 
the  Catholic  clergy  are  foreigners.   Cape  Verdean  immigration 
law  requires  that  missionaries  applying  for  residency  belong 
to  a  denomination  with  a  recognized  membership  in  Cape  Verde. 
In  this  context,  two  American  Mormon  missionaries  were  asked 
to  leave  Cape  Verde  in  1989  after  their  visitor's  visas 
expired;  however,  new  American  Mormon  missionaries  were 
admitted  to  Cape  Verde  in  1990. 

d.   Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

There  are  no  extraordinary  legal  or  administrative 
restrictions  on  travel  or  residence  in  Cape  Verde.   All 
resident  Cape  Verdeans  wishing  to  leave  the  country,  either 
temporarily  or  permanently,  must  obtain  exit  permission  from 
the  Government.   Permission  has  not  been  denied  for  political 
reasons.   Emigration  has  long  been  an  important  and  recognized 
means  of  escape  from  prevailing  harsh  economic  conditions. 
The  Government  maintains  close  contact  with  emigre  communities 
and  encourages  Cape  Verdeans  living  abroad  to  maintain  ties 
with  the  homeland.   In  1990  the  National  Assembly  passed  a  new 
nationality  law  permitting  dual  nationality  for  the  purpose  of 
encouraging  Cape  Verdeans,  who  adopted  other  nationalities  at 
the  time  of  independence  and  afterwards,  to  reapply  for  Cape 
Verdean  citizenship.   Repatriation  is  a  constitutional  right; 
the  Government  does  not  discourage  those  intending  to 
repatriate.   The  law  allows  for  revocation  of  citizenship  on 
several  grounds,  including  activities  contrary  to  the  interest 
of  the  country.   However,  there  were  no  known  cases  of  the 
Government  instituting  proceedings  to  deprive  persons  of 
citizenship  for  political  reasons. 

Section  3  Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

In  1990  citizens  still  did  not  have  the  right  to  change  their 
government  by  peaceful  means.   However,  the  Government's  1990 
decision  to  move  from  a  single  party  to  a  multiparty  system 
opened  up  the  possibility  of  a  more  representative  system  in 
the  future.   President  Pereira  gave  up  his  position  as 
Secretary  General  of  the  PAICV.   The  PAICV  and  the  MPD  reached 
an  important  agreement  in  1990  on  issues  involving  elections 
scheduled  to  take  place  in  1991. 

Provisions  of  an  agreement  between  the  PAICV  and  the  MPD  on 
the  upcoming  elections  and  implementation  of  changes  leading 
to  a  multiparty  political  system  were  subsequently  adopted  by 
the  National  Assembly.   In  accordance  with  the  PAICV/MPD 
agreement,  the  Constitution  was  amended  to  abolish  the  PAICV s 
monopoly  on  power.   The  National  Assembly  unanimously  passed 
an  electoral  law  which  granted  universal  adult  suffrage, 
prohibited  members  of  the  Armed  Forces  from  running  for  the 
legislature,  and  established  modalities  for  legislative  and 
presidential  elections,  which  are  scheduled  to  be  held  in 
1991.   This  law  also  established  criminal  penalties  for 
election  fraud.   Some  fundamental  issues,  such  as  the  powers 
of  the  presidency,  were  supposed  to  have  been  determined  by 
the  new,  and  presumably  more  representative.  National  Assembly 
to  be  elected  next  year.   However,  the  PAICV-dominated 
Assembly  granted  greatly  enhanced  powers  to  President 
Pereira.   Specifically,  the  President  was  authorized  to 
appoint  and  dismiss  the  Prime  Minister  subject  only  to 
Parliamentary  confirmation,  to  dissolve  the  National  Assembly, 
within  certain  restrictions,  and  to  veto  legislation.   An  ' 


59 


CAPE  VERDE 

absolute  majority  was  required  for  the  legislature  to  override 
a  veto . 

Traditionally,  PAICV  leadership  has  been  restricted  to  a  group 
credited  with  winning  Cape  Verde's  independence  from 
Portugal.   In  1990  the  PAICV  made  an  obvious  effort  to  give 
more  prominent  roles  to  women  and  other  persons  less  directly 
involved  in  the  independence  movement;  women  became  principal 
government  representatives  on  the  islands  of  Sal  and  Boa 
Vista.   Nonetheless,  women  remain  underrepresented  in  senior 
party  and  government  posts.   PAICV  membership  is  young,  (47 
percent  under  30  years  of  age),  disproportionately  urban,  (50 
percent  in  a  nation  which  is  two-thirds  rural),  and  heavily 
representative  of  the  bureaucracy  (25  percent  of  the  members 
are  civil  servants  or  employees  of  state  enterprises) . 

The  MPD  principally  represents  the  private  sector  and  is  led 
by  lawyers,  medical  doctors,  and  businessmen.   The  MPD 
advocates  encouraging  private  investment  and  changing  the 
Constitution  to  give  the  National  Assembly  greater  power.   It 
began  as  a  fledgling  association  in  February  when  the  PAICV 
announced  the  move  to  a  multiparty  system  and  became  a 
legitimate  party  in  October  when  the  National  Assembly  passed 
enabling  legislation. 

Section  4   Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

The  Government  fully  cooperates  with  representatives  of 
private  human  rights  organizations  who  visit  Cape  Verde 
periodically  to  investigate  alleged  violations. 

Section  5   Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

Racial  discrimination  is  not  a  problem  in  Cape  Verde  where  the 
vast  majority  of  the  population  shares  Portuguese  and  African 
ancestry.   Sex  discrimination  is  banned  by  the  Constitution, 
but  traditional  male-oriented  Portuguese  and  African  values 
predominate . 

The  family  code,  enacted  in  October  1981,  prescribes  the  full 
equality  of  men  and  women  in  law,  including  equal  pay  for 
equal  work.   However,  women  are  in  fact  excluded  from  certain 
types  of  employment  and  are  often  paid  less  than  men.   The 
Government  and  the  PAICV  are  making  efforts  to  involve  more 
women  in  political,  economic,  and  social  activities.   A 
conscious  effort  is  made  to  employ  women  in  labor-intensive 
economic  development  projects  financed  by  foreign  grants.   The 
Organization  of  Cape  Verdean  Women  was  founded  in  1980,  with 
party  encouragement,  to  sensitize  the  Government  and  the 
citizenry  to  issues  affecting  women. 

Domestic  violence  against  women,  including  wife  beating, 
remains  common,  particularly  in  the  rural  areas.   Crimes  such 
as  rape  and  spouse  abuse  are  rarely  brought  to  the  attention 
of  the  police  or  tried  in  the  courts.   The  Government  conducts 
radio  and  television  programs  to  inform  women  of  their  legal 
rights,  but  these  programs  rarely  reach  the  rural  areas  where 
women  are  most  in  need  of  such  information.   Neither  the 
Government  nor  the  PAICV  women ' s  organization  have 
specifically  addressed  the  issue  of  violence  against  women. 


60 


CAPE  VERDE 
Section  6  Worker  Rights 

a.  The  Right  of  Association 

In  September  the  National  Assembly  passed  legislation  granting 
workers  the  right  to  strike.   All  workers  are  free  to  join 
unions.   Later  that  month,  the  employees  of  the  state-owned 
shipyards  exercised  that  right  by  striking  for  1  day  before  an 
agreement  was  negotiated.   While  it  is  not  mandatory,  all 
unions  are  affiliated  with  the  National  Union  Confederation 
(NUC) ,  which  is  headed  by  a  high-ranking  PAICV  member.   About 
one-third  of  the  active  work  force  are  nominal  union  members. 

The  NUC  participates  in  the  International  Labor  Organization 
and  is  affiliated  with  the  Organization  of  African  Trade  Union 
Unity,  but  has  not  taken  positions  independent  of  those 
officially  sanctioned  by  the  Government.   It  maintains  contact 
with  and  receives  assistance  from  both  Communist  and 
non-Communist  foreign  trade  union  movements. 

b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

The  legislation  passed  in  September  provides  the  right  to 
function  without  hindrance.   Workers  and  management  reached 
agreement  through  collective  bargaining  in  the  shipyard  labor 
dispute  referred  to  above.   As  the  largest  employer,  the 
Government  sets  wages  and  other  benefits,  but  the  NUC  and  the 
constituent  unions  influence  this  process. 

There  were  no  export  processing  zones  in  1990;  however.  Cape 
Verde  began  a  feasibility  study  on  establishing  a  major  free 
trade  zone.  «• 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 
Forced  labor  is  not  practiced  and  is  forbidden  by  law. 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

The  minimum  age  for  employment  is  14,  and  children  under  16 
are  prohibited  from  working  at  night,  for  more  than  7  hours 
per  day,  or  in  establishments  where  toxic  products  are  used. 
There  is,  however,  no  organizational  mechanism  for  enforcing 
these  requirements. 

e.  Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

Minimiim  wages  are  established  by  the  Government  for  both  the 
public  and  private  sectors.   As  of  January  1,  1987,  the  minimum 
wage  for  civil  servants  was  approximately  $84  per  month.   Wages 
for  unskilled  workers  are  considerably  lower;  in  rural  areas 
the  daily  minimum  is  approximately  $1.62  for  manual  labor. 

All  enterprises  submit  a  yearly  report  to  the  Director  General 
of  Labor  with  information  on  salary  and  wages  of  each  employee. 
This  provides  the  Government  with  a  vehicle  for  controlling 
employment  practices.   There  does  not  appear  to  be  an  overall 
safety  and  health  code,  although  some  regulations  exist  in 
this  area.   The  normal  workweek  for  adults  is  44  hours  over  5 
1/2  days.   A  worker  is  entitled  to  at  least  1  free  day  per 
week.   While  large  employers  generally  respect  these 
regulations  and  minimum  wage  standards,  many  employed  in 
domestic  service  or  by  small  employers  in  rural  areas  do  not 
enjoy  legally  mandated  work  conditions. 


61 


CENTRAL  AFRICAN  REPUBLIC 


The  Central  African  Republic  (C.A.R.)  is  a  one-party  state  in 
which  General  Andre  Dieudonne  Kolingba  has  exercised  virtually 
full  political  control  since  his  accession  to  power  in  a 
bloodless  coup  on  September  1,  1981.   In  1986  President 
Kolingba  introduced  a  new  constitution,  which  was  subsequently 
approved  in  a  national  referendum.   In  that  same  vote  he  was 
elected  without  opposition  to  a  6-year  term  as  President.   The 
new  Constitution  established  a  directly  elected  parliament 
(National  Assembly)  and  an  advisory  body  known  as  the  Economic 
and  Regional  Council.   Both  have  met  regularly  since  1987.   In 
February  1987,  President  Kolingba  established  the  only  legal 
political  party,  the  Central  African  Democratic  Assembly  (RDC) . 

The  Ministry  of  Defense  controls  a  military  police  force 
(Gendarmerie  Nationale),  in  addition  to  the  armed  forces, 
which  together  number  about  4,000.   These  forces  share 
internal  security  responsibilities  with  the  civilian  police 
force  (Police  Nationale)  under  the  Ministry  of  National 
Security,  which  is  responsible  for  policing  major  roads  and 
keeping  records  of  the  movement  of  vehicles.   President 
Kolingba  has  a  presidential  security  force. 

The  C.A.R.  is  a  poor,  landlocked,  and  sparsely  populated 
country,  most  of  whose  inhabitants  derive  their  livelihood 
from  subsistence  agriculture.   Since  1982  the  Government  has 
tried  to  implement  economic  structural  reforms  in  cooperation 
with  international  donors.   However,  because  of  continuing 
unfavorable  world  economic  trends  and  corruption  and 
mismanagement  in  government,  progress  has  remained  elusive. 

Human  rights  remained  circumscribed  in  1990,  including  the 
rights  of  free  speech  and  assembly.   The  Government  continued 
to  hold  in  long-term  detention  without  charge  or  trial  General 
Francois  Bozize  and  10  followers  who  were  forcefully 
repatriated  from  Benin  in  1989.   It  also  used  detention  to 
combat  growing  demands  for  political  reform.   Responding  to 
growing  popular  pressures  for  political  reform  in  1990,  the 
Government  at  first  temporized,  permitting  some  harsh 
criticism  within  party  meetings,  but  later  increasingly 
cracked  down  on  political  opponents.   In  September  and 
October,  it  arrested  a  large  number  of  concerned  citizens  who 
called  for  a  national  congress,  rather  than  an  RDC  congress, 
to  discuss  political  reforms.   By  the  end  of  1990,  the  number 
of  dissidents  in  detention  stood  at  more  than  44,  and  some 
were  reportedly  about  to  be  tried  on  charges  of  endangering 
state  security.   The  Government  did  permit  some  advances  in 
worker  rights  with  the  holding  of  a  National  Constitutive 
Labor  Congress  in  July,  which  included  the  free  elections  of 
officers.   A  general  strike  in  November  ended  peacefully 
following  discussions  between  the  unions  and  the  Government. 

RESPECT  FOR  HUMAN  RIGHTS 

Section  1  Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.   Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

A  presidential  spiritual  adviser,  Pierre  Bernard  Kowada,  was 
murdered  on  September  29.   The  Government  has  given  out  very 
little  information  on  the  circumstances  surrounding  the 
murder,  but  it  was  widely  assumed  to  have  political 
overtones.   At  the  end  of  the  year,  details  about  the  murder 


62 


CENTRAL  AFRICAN  REPUBLIC 

remained  unclear,  but  at  least  five  arrests  had  been  made.   In 
late  December,  four  of  those  arrested  were  tortured,  and  one, 
Pierre  Wanga,  died  as  a  result  of  the  torture.   The  Government 
promised  an  investigation  into  the  circumstances  of  Wanga ' s 
death  and  later  announced  that  several  persons  had  been 
arrested  in  connection  with  this  case. 

b.  Disappearance 

There  were  no  reports  of  politically  motivated  disappearance. 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment 

The  Penal  Code  prohibits  torture  and  provides  for  sanctions 
against  those  found  guilty  of  physical  abuse.   Nonetheless, 
there  were  credible  reports  of  police  beatings  of  criminals  or 
suspects.   Following  an  attempted  prison  escape,  dissident 
General  Francois  Bozize  was  reportedly  beaten  severely  and 
rec[uired  hospital  care.   There  were  no  reports  of  punishment 
of  those  responsible  for  the  Bozize  beating  or  other  instances 
of  mistreatment.   One  of  11  men  arrested  with  General  Bozize 
in  1989  died  in  custody  from  unknown  causes.   As  noted  above, 
four  suspects  in  the  case  were  severely  beaten,  resulting  in 
one  death  and  hospitalization  of  the  others.   Fcimily  members, 
legal  counsel,  doctors,  and  clergy  generally  have  access  to 
prisoners,  including  prominent  political  detainees. 

d.  Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

Under  Central  African  law,  political  detainees  may  be  held 
without  charge  for  up  to  2  months  but  must  then  be  formally 
charged  or  released.   This  limit  is  consistently  ignored  by 
the  Government.   When  political  detainees  are  charged, 
judicial  procedures  allow  for  indefinite  preventive  detention 
while  the  public  prosecutor  prepares  the  State's  case  against 
the  accused.   Such  cases  often  involve  incommunicado  detention. 

In  normal  criminal  cases,  those  arrested  must  be  brought 
within  96  hours  before  a  magistrate,  who  decides  whether 
formal  charges  will  be  filed.   In  practice,  this  limit  is 
often  exceeded  owing  to  inefficiencies  in  judicial 
procedures.   No  system  of  bail  exists. 

The  exact  number  of  political  detainees  and  political 
prisoners  is  not  known.   However,  at  least  44  political 
prisoners,  many  advocates  of  multiparty  political  reform,  were 
imprisoned  in  Bangui  at  year's  end.   Included  among  them  are 
former  ministers,  journalists,  academics,  bankers,  and 
businessmen.   Government  opponent  General  Francois  Bozize  and 
his  10  followers  have  been  held  without  charge  since  August 
1989.   The  Government  says  it  will  bring  them  to  trial  as  soon 
as  preparations  are  completed,  possibly  before  the  High  Court 
of  Justice.   In  addition  to  the  four  persons  referred  to 
above,  former  minister  Sylvestre  Yangongo  was  arrested  in 
November  in  connection  with  the  Kowada  murder  and  has  been 
held  without  charge  since  then.   Sometime  political  opponent 
Ruth  Rolland,  arrested  on  December  16,  1989,  reportedly 
remained  under  house  arrest  at  the  end  of  the  year,  although 
no  charges  have  yet  been  filed. 

As  1990  progressed,  there  were  public  demands  for  political 
and  economic  reforms;  in  particular  students  and  unemployed 
civil  servants  demonstrated  and  went  on  strike.   In  September 
the  Government  arrested  23  members  of  a  group  known  as  the 


63 


CENTRAL  AFRICAN  REPUBLIC 

Coordinating  Committee  for  ^   National  Congress  (CCCN)  who 
called  for  a  national  congress  independent  from  the  RDC 
congress  meeting.   The  CCCN  members,  who  favor  a  multiparty 
system,  were  arrested  while  meeting  in  a  private  home.   A 
subsequent  meeting  called  by  the  CCCN  was  broken  up  by 
security  forces  and  ended  in  minor  rioting  and  random  violence 
against  passersby.   Other  persons  sympathetic  to  the  CCCN, 
including  General  Timothee  Malendoma,  were  subseqiiently 
arrested  (see  Section  2.b.).   At  the  end  of  1990,  the 
Government  had  still  not  filed  charges  against  any  political 
detainees  but  continued  to  claim  that  the  cases  against  them 
were  nearly  completed. 

During  certain  events,  such  as  the  Harvest  Festival,  the 
Government  heightens  security.   At  these  times,  the  Government 
controls  the  activities  of  about  10  opponents,  particularly 
supporters  of  former  Emperor  Bokassa,  by  holding  them  under 
house  or  village  arrest  until  the  event  is  over. 

Two  expatriates  accused  of  possessing  military  material  were 
held  for  approximately  3  1/2  weeks  without  being  formally 
charged.   They  were  eventually  released  and  repatriated. 

The  number  of  political  opponents  outside  the  C.A.R.  is 
unknown.   Among  those  exiled  are  Rodolph  Iddi-Lala,  whose 
current  whereabouts  are  unkown,  and  Ange  Patasse,  currently  in 
Lome,  Togo.   Opposition  tracts  from  Central  African  students 
and  opposition  groups  based  in  France  circulated  in  Bangui  in 
May. 

e.  Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

The  judiciary  consists  of  regular  and  military  courts,  with 
the  Supreme  Court  at  the  apex.   In  most  common  criminal  cases, 
the  Government  permits  legal  procedures  to  be  fairly  and 
openly  applied.    However,  execution  of  the  law  is  hampered  by 
inadequate  training  of  officials,  deliberate  underfunding  of 
the  judicial  system,  and  persistent  traditional  beliefs 
regarding  witchcraft  and  sorcery  which  sometimes  take 
precedence  over  strict  rules  of  evidence.   The  accused  have  a 
right  to  legal  counsel  at  all  stages  in  the  formal  procedures 
and  have  the  right  of  appeal. 

In  1988  a  High  Court  of  Justice  was  created  to  try  political 
prisoners,  replacing  the  special  tribunal  of  civilian 
magistrates  and  military  advisers  which  had  adjudicated 
political  cases  from  1981  to  1987.   It  functions  in  much  the 
same  manner  as  the  ordinary  courts,  except  there  is  no  right 
of  appeal.   The  possibility  of  presidential  clemency  exists. 
No  cases  have  yet  come  before  this  Court,  although  a  president 
of  the  Court  was  named  in  October  1989. 

f .  Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 
Correspondence 

Government  interference  with  privacy  is  common  in  political 
and  security  cases.   Legal  prohibitions  on  invasion  of  the 
home  without  a  warrant  are  not  generally  abused  in  civil  and 
criminal  cases.   Police  are  allowed  to  search  private  property 
without  written  authorization  in  suspected  political  cases. 
The  consensus  among  Central  Africans  is  that  their  Government 
keeps  a  close  watch  on  any  citizen  who  opposes  or  appears  to 
oppose  it,  but  government  surveillance  is  rare  in  practice. 
To  combat  increasing  local  crime,  including  robbery  and 
assault,  citizens'  action  groups,  called  vigilance  committees, 

\ 


64 


CENTRAL  AFRICAN  REPUBLIC 

were  created  by  the  party  in  1988.   These  conmiittees, 
consisting  of  20  volunteers  per  neighborhood,  patrol  the 
streets  and  have  the  right  to  stop  and  hold  suspected 
criminals  briefly  before  handing  them  over  to  the  police.   A 
code  of  conduct  guides  committee  members  and  prohibits  them, 
for  example,  from  invading  private  property  or  acting  in  the 
capacity  of  a  police  officer. 

Civil  servants  are  not  required  to  be  party  members,  but  there 
are  strong  social  pressures  to  join,  particularly  for  those 
holding  higher  level  positions. 

Section  2  Respect  for  Civil  Liberties  Including: 

a.  Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

The  right  of  private  citizens  to  speak  publicly  about 
political  developments  or  to  criticize  the  Government  is 
circumscribed,  although  most  people  feel  free  to  comment 
privately  on  political  affairs.   The  RDC  insists  that  it  is  an 
open  forum  in  which  all  viewpoints  may  be  expressed,  but 
nonparty  members  disagree  with  this  claim.   The  National 
Assembly  provides  a  forum  for  public  discussion  of  government 
policies,  but  as  the  Assembly  is  subservient  to  the  executive, 
few  citizens  follow  Assembly  debates  or  approach  their 
representatives  with  their  concerns. 

Newspapers,  radio,  and  television  are  all  government  owned  and 
controlled.   The  media  provide  uncritical  support  for 
President  Kolingba  and  the  RDC.   The  sole  newspaper,  E  Le 
Songo,  was  not  published  from  April  to  September  due  to  lack 
of  funds.   Domestic  news  favors  upbeat  stories  and 
noncontroversial  events.   Reporting  on  international  news  is 
selective  and  tends  to  avoid  events  that  may  be  embarrassing 
to  friendly  foreign  governments.   Radio  reports  in  the  past 
year,  however,  have  included  accounts  of  efforts  to  reform 
other  single-party  systems  in  Africa  and  Eastern  Europe. 

In  May  and  June,  open  letters  to  President  Kolingba  bearing 
several  hundred  signatures  circulated  throughout  Bangui.   The 
signatories  sought  political  reform  and  claimed  these  letters 
were  the  only  means  of  expressing  peaceful  dissent.   While  at 
first  they  were  not  harassed,  eventually  at  least  20  civil 
servants  were  removed  from  their  political  appointments, 
prompting  several  others,  including  one  state  secretary,  to 
deny  having  signed  one  of  the  letters. 

Attorney  Nicolas  Tiangaye  faced  the  equivalent  of  disbarment 
for  remarks  critical  of  the  Government  during  his  defense  of 
two  military  officers  accused  of  coup  plotting.   The  Minister 
of  Justice  was  removed  from  his  position  for  backing 
Tiangaye.   The  Tiangaye  case  was  dismissed  by  the  Disciplinary 
Council  in  October. 

b.  Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

The  right  to  assembly  is  constitutionally  guaranteed  but  is 
restricted  in  practice.   Beginning  in  April,  a  number  of 
peaceful  demonstrations  were  held  in  Bangui  by  unemployed 
civil  servants,  teachers,  and  students.   Security  forces 
monitored  the  demonstrations  and  initially  did  not  interfere 
with  the  demonstrators,  on  specific  instructions  from  the 
Minister  of  the  Interior.   In  later  demonstrations  Security 
forces  actively  intervened  to  disperse  crowds,  notably  during 
a  university  teachers'  strike  that  involved  the  stoning  of 


65 


CENTRAL  AFRICAN  REPUBLIC 

passing  vehicles  and  led  ultimately  to  a  march  towards  the 
Presidential  Palace.   The  presidential  security  forces  fired 
tear  gas  into  the  air  to  disperse  crowds  but  made  no  arrests. 

These  demonstrations  coincided  with  a  growing  demand  from  a 
cross  section  of  Central  African  society  for  an  open 
conference  to  discuss  current  political  problems  and  the 
future  political  structure  of  the  C.A.R.   The  Government 
refused  all  such  requests,  stating  that  all  national  concerns 
would  be  discussed  at  a  party  congress  to  be  held  in  October. 
Those  not  in  the  party  claimed  that  such  a  congress  would  not 
represent  all  sectors  of  the  population  and  continued  to 
demand  a  national  meeting.   The  party  congress  produced 
several  recommendations  aimed  at  improving  economic, 
political,  and  social  conditions  in  the  C.A.R. ,  but  it 
endorsed  the  single-party  political  system,  proclaiming  an 
openness  to  all  political  tendencies  within  the  party. 
Although  other  views  were  expressed  at  the  Congress,  members 
of  the  opposition,  several  of  whom  were  in  jail,  were  notably 
absent.   Nonparty  members  continue  to  seek  a  congress  which 
would  allow  them  to  speak  out. 

On  September  12,  the  authorities  arrested  23  signatories  of  a 
May  open  letter  to  President  Kolingba,  who  were  meeting  at  the 
home  of  one  of  the  signers  to  discuss  the  political  situation. 
They  were  ostensibly  arrested  for  not  notifying  the  Government 
of  the  meeting.   Supporters  of  those  arrested  stated  that  it 
was  not  necessary  to  inform  the  Government  since  it  was  a 
meeting  in  a  private  home  (see  Section  l.d.). 

c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

A  variety  of  religious  groupings  are  active  in  the  country, 
including  traditional  African  faiths.  Christian  denominations, 
and  Muslims.   Religious  organizations  and  missionary  groups 
are  generally  permitted  to  operate  freely,  but  any  group  whose 
behavior  is  considered  political  in  nature  is  quickly 
stifled.   In  September  1989,  the  Minister  of  the  Interior 
suspended  indefinitely  the  activities  of  the  Union  of 
Evangelical  Pentecostal  Churches  for  "irresponsible  conduct." 
It  remained  suspended  at  the  end  of  1990. 

d.  Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

While  people  are  generally  free  to  move  about  within  the 
country,  police  at  checkpoints  along  major  roads  sometimes 
harass  travelers  unwilling  or  unable  to  pay  bribes. 

The  right  of  voluntary  travel  and  repatriation  is  recognized. 
Financial  and  educational  constraints,  rather  than  government 
controls,  act  to  restrict  most  foreign  travel  and  emigration. 
There  were  no  known  cases  of  revocation  of  citizenship. 
Attorney  Nicolas  Tiangaye  was  restricted  from  movement  outside 
Bangui  city  limits  pending  a  government  investigation  against 
him,  but  the  restriction  was  lifted  upon  dismissal  of  the 
case.   Signers  of  open  letters  to  President  Kolingba  and  some 
former  ministers  have  also  been  forbidden  to  leave  the  country. 

In  late  1990,  approximately  5,000  Sudanese  fleeing  civil 
strife  in  Sudan  sought  safe  haven  in  the  remote  southeastern 
corner  of  the  C.A.R..   The  C.A.R.  National  Commission  for 
Refugees,  in  collaboration  with  U.N.  agencies  and  private 
relief  groups,  is  providing  assistance  for  this  group.   The 
C.A.R.  also  hosts  just  over  1,600  self-settled  Chadian 


66 


CENTRAL  AFRICAN  REPUBLIC 

refugees  who  were  no  longer  receiving  international  assistance 
by  the  end  of  1990.   The  Government  has  a  generally  positive 
attitude  towards  the  protracted  stay  of  this  refugee  group  and 
has  made  no  effort  to  revoke  their  refugee  status. 

Section  3   Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

Despite  constitutional  guarantees,  citizens  may  not  change 
their  goverment  by  democratic  means.   In  practice,  National 
Assembly  elections  have  been  limited  to  choosing  between 
multiple  candidates  vetted  by  the  sole  political  party,  and 
only  the  RDC  may  nominate  a  candidate  for  President.   The 
power  and  prerogatives  of  the  President  and  the  sole  party 
have  not  been  susceptible  to  peaceful  change  from  below.   The 
President  makes  all  important  national  policy  decisions. 
Although  he  allows  his  Cabinet  considerable  leeway  in 
day-to-day  activities  of  government  administration,  cabinet 
changes  are  made  often. 

The  Constitution  grants  the  National  Assembly  the  authority  to 
debate  and  vote  on  bills  proposed  by  the  executive  and  to 
initiate  legislation  of  its  own.   Deputies  have  constitutional 
immunity  from  prosecution  or  other  government  interference  for 
opinions  voiced  or  votes  cast  during  the  exercise  of  their 
duties  in  the  National  Assembly.   Assembly  sessions  often 
involve  frank  criticism  of  government  policy,  and  Deputies 
have  been  able  to  modify  the  language  of  proposed 
legislation.   Still,  the  Assembly  has  yet  to  reject  a  law  put 
before  it.   Deputies  have  begun  to  cast  negative  votes  or 
abstain  when  not  in  agreement  with  proposed  legislation. 

Section  4  Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

There  are  no  local  organizations  to  monitor  human  rights 
issues.   Although  the  October  party  congress  discussed  a 
recommendation  for  a  national  human  rights  organization, 
government  critics  remained  skeptical  that  any  truly 
independent  human  rights  organization  would  be  permitted.   The 
Government  permits  representatives  of  Amnesty  International 
and  the  International  Committee  of  the  Red  Cross  to  visit 
Bangui  periodically.   In  January  the  Government  hosted  a 
conference  on  human  rights  sponsored  by  the  International 
Committee  on  African  Human  Rights.   A  broad  cross  section  of 
citizens,  including  political  opponents,  attended  the 
conference. 

Section  5  Discrimination  based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

The  Constitution  mandates  that  all  persons  are  equal  before 
the  law  without  regard  to  wealth,  race,  or  religion.   In 
practice,  some  minorities  tend  to  receive  unequal  treatment, 
e.g.,  the  forest-dwelling  Bamingua,  commonly  known  as  Pygmies, 
are  subject  to  discrimination  and  exploitation  which  the 
Government  has  done  little  to  correct.   Pygmies  are  often 
hired  by  villagers  to  work  for  wages  much  lower  than  those 
received  by  other  groups.   There  are  some  indications  that 
Muslims,  particularly  Mbororo  (Peuhl)  herders,  are  resented  by 
other  Central  Africans  because  of  their  economic  well-being 
and  are  singled  out  for  harassment,  such  as  police  shakedowns. 
There  are  more  than  80  ethnic  groups  in  the  Central  African 
Republic,  and  about  70  percent  of  the  population  is  Ngbaka, 


67 


CENTRAL  AFRICAN  REPUBLIC 

Baya,  or  Banda .   Despite  President  Kolingba's  statements  about 
the  desirability  of  ethnic  balance  in  his  Cabinet,  preference 
for  high  government  and  military  positions  has  been  given  to 
member^  of  his  Yakoma  ethnic  group  which  forms  less  than  10 
percent  of  the  population.   During  a  special  session  of  the 
RDC  in  May,  the  Government  was  publicly  criticized  for  its 
ethnic  imbalance  and  corruption.   President  Kolingba  responded 
by  making  changes  in  his  Cabinet,  including  the  replacement  of 
Yakoma.   The  percentage  of  Yakoma  in  the  Cabinet  remains  out 
of  proportion  with  their  percentage  in  the  total  C.A.R. 
population  and  Yakoma  retain  key  financial  and  security 
positions,  including  in  a  number  of  state-owned  enterprises. 

Although  the  Constitution  affirms  the  equality  of  all 
citizens,  women  traditionally  have  been  accorded  fewer 
opportunities  than  men.   There  is  no  precise  data  on  the 
percentage  of  women  in  the  wage  labor  force,  but  in  1990  women 
for  the  first  time  were  accepted  for  training  in  the 
Gendarmerie,  with  the  first  class  expected  to  graduate  in 
1991.   Many  women  are  involved  in  traditional  agricultural 
activities,  while  others  are  in  commerce  as  market  vendors. 
Many  educated  women  working  outside  the  home  are  in  clerical 
positions.   A  small  but  growing  number  of  women  are 
establishing  private  businesses  or  moving  into  the  upper  ranks 
of  the  Government.   While  women  have  equal  access  to 
education,  a  majority  of  young  women  leave  prior  to  completing 
high  school  due  to  social  pressures. 

Polygamy  is  legally  sanctioned,  although  increasingly  fewer 
women  accept  the  practice.   A  prospective  husband  must 
indicate  at  the  time  of  the  marriage  contract  whether  he 
intends  to  take  further  wives. 

Violence  against  women,  including  wife  beating,  occurs,  but  it 
is  difficult  to  gauge  the  extent  of  the  problem,  as  it  is 
seldom  officially  reported.   The  Ministry  of  Justice  does  not 
generally  learn  of  many  cases  concerning  spouse  abuse, 
although  it  reports  the  issue  does  come  up  during  divorce 
trials  or  in  civil  suits  for  damages.   Most  often,  women 
tolerate  abuse  in  order  to  retain  a  measure  of  financial 
security  for  themselves  and  their  children.   Neither  the 
Government  nor  the  women's  division  of  the  RDC  has  publicly 
addressed  this  issue,  although  the  Women's  Party  Organization 
has  begun  to  consider  the  problem.   Cases  of  domestic  violence 
occasionally  appear  in  the  judicial  column  of  E  Le  Songo . 

Female  genital  mutilation  (circumcision)  has  been  forbidden  by 
law  since  the  1960 's,  but  it  continues  to  be  practiced  in 
rural  areas  and,  to  a  lesser  degree,  in  the  Muslim  quarters  of 
Bangui.   Many  urban  dwellers  consider  it  an  outdated  custom. 
Enforcement  of  the  prohibition  is  rare  as  it  is  basically 
considered  a  private,  family  matter.   The  practice  of  proper 
hygiene  during  circumcisions  has  become  a  target  of  the 
Government's  AIDS  awareness  campaign. 

Section  6  Worker  Rights 

a.   The  Right  of  Association 

A  7-year  suspension  of  most  trade  union  activity  ended  in 
1988,  when  a  law  granting  trade  union  freedom  and  the 
protection  of  union  rights  was  adopted.   This  law  permits 
workers  freely  to  establish  and  join  organizations,  to  draw  up 
constitutions  and  rules,  to  elect  representatives,  and  to 
formulate  programs  of  action.   The  law  permits  strikes  when 


68 


CENTRAL  AFRICAN  REPUBLIC 

all  efforts  at  conciliation  have  failed.   If  a  government 
mediator  and  an  arbitration  council  both  fail  to  achieve 
agreement  between  labor  and  management,  then  a  strike  is 
permitted  provided  notice  of  intent  to  strike  is  given.   It 
also  allows  unions  to  affiliate  with  international  labor 
organizations . 

The  law  entered  into  full  force  on  May  1,  1989,  with  the 
Minister  of  Labor  giving  workers  throughout  the  country 
official  permission  to  begin  organizing.   The  Government 
determined  that  all  major  trade  unions  should  be  established 
through  elections  organized  by  profession  and  place  of  work 
before  workers  would  be  permitted  to  convene  a  congress  to  set 
up  a  nationwide  structure.   In  response  to  concern  voiced  by 
the  International  Labor  Organization  (ILO)  that  the  law 
mandates  a  single  federation,  the  Government  has  stated  that 
the  law  does  not  require  unions  to  form  a  single  trade  union 
federation. 

By  December  60  local  unions  and  six  federations  had  been 
recognized  by  the  Ministry  of  the  Interior.   A  National 
Constitutive  Congress  was  held  in  Bangui  in  early  July, 
attended  by  almost  200  union  members  from  throughout  the 
country,  as  well  as  representatives  of  international  labor 
organizations.   The  Congress  formed  a  new  umbrella  trade 
union,  the  Union  Syndicale  des  Travailleurs  de  Centrafrique 
(USTC) ,  elected  a  21-member  executive  bureau  by  secret  ballot 
in  a  contested  election,  and  selected  representatives  to  the 
Regional  and  Economic  Council  and  to  the  Board  of  the  Social 
Security  Office. 

In  October  1990,  teachers  and  health  workers  went  on  strike 
demanding  that  their  salaries,  which  had  been  frozen  for  8 
years,  be  increased.   In  support,  the  USTC  executive  bureau 
called  a  general  strike  on  November  21,  after  negotiations 
between  union  and  government  leaders  proved  inconclusive. 
While  acting  with  restraint,  the  Government  maintained  that 
the  strike  was  illegal  as  the  appropriate  procedures  had  not 
been  followed,  e.g.,  arbitration  councils  had  not  been 
formed.   On  December  4,  the  strike  ended  without  the  teachers' 
having  achieved  the  salary  concessions  they  had  sought 
However,  the  Government  agreed  in  principle  to  raise  salaries 
and  negotiations  were  expected  to  resume  in  early  1991. 
Although  the  strike  could  not  be  considered  a  complete 
success,  it  clearly  established  the  unions'  legitimacy. 

In  April  1989,  the  U.S.  Government  announced  the  suspension  of 
certain  tariff  preferences  accorded  the  C.A.R,,  based  largely 
on  the  Government's  failure  to  respect  freedom  of  association 
since  1981.   The  C.A.R.  formally  requested  reinstatement  in 
September  1989,  and  the  matter  is  currently  under 
consideration  by  the  U.S.  Government's  Generalized  System  of 
Preferences  Subcommittee. 

b.   The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

The  1988  union  law,  which  applies  throughout  the  country, 
accords  trade  unions  full  legal  status,  including  the  right  to 
own  property  and  to  sue  in  court,  but  it  does  not  specifically 
address  whether  trade  unions  may  engage  in  collective 
bargaining.   Mechanisms  for  collective  bargaining  spelled  out 
in  the  1961  Labor  Code  were  occasionally  used  in  the  private 
sector  during  the  ban  on  union  activity  but  had  not  yet  been 
fully  revived  in  late  1990.   Employers  are  forbidden  from 
discriminating  against  workers  on  the  basis  of  union 


69 


CENTRAL  AFRICAN  REPUBLIC 

membership  or  union  activity,  and  infractions  can  result  in 
the  assessment  of  legal  damages.   It  is  too  early  to  tell 
whether,  or  how  effectively,  these  provisions  will  be 
enforced.   There  are  no  export  processing  zones. 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

Forced  labor  is  not  practiced  but  is  not  specifically 
prohibited  by  law.   The  Government  has  maintained  that  the 
laws  in  question,  which  all  date  back  to  the  1960 's,  are 
obsolete  and  are  no  longer  observed  or  enforced.   At  the  end 
of  1990,  amendments  to  the  1961  Labor  Code,  bringing  it  into 
line  with  ILO  standards,  were  under  review  by  the  Council  of 
Ministers,  prior  to  being  introduced  in  the  National  Assembly 
for  debate. 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

Employment  of  children  under  14  years  of  age  is  forbidden  by 
law.   The  relevant  legislation  is  only  loosely  enforced.   Jobs 
are  in  such  demand  by  adults  that  children  in  the  labor  force 
are  generally  limited  to  helping  the  family  in  traditional 
subsistence  farming  or  retailing. 

e.  Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

Minimum  wages  are  established  by  the  Government,  and  a  social 
security  system  exists  for  private  industry.   The  minimum  wage 
for  a  manual  laborer,  for  example,  is  about  $40  per  month  and 
for  a  stenotypist  about  $140  per  month.   These  salaries  assure 
a  family  the  basic  necessities  but  are  barely  adequate  to 
maintain  a  decent  standard  of  living.   The  Government  has  not 
raised  the  minimum  wage  since  1980,  partly  in  response  to 
pressure  from  international  financial  institutions.   Much 
labor  is  performed  outside  the  wage  and  social  security 
system,  especially  by  self-employed  farmers  in  the  large 
subsistence  agricultural  sector.   The  law  sets  maximum  working 
hours  for  government  employees  and  most  people  in  the  private 
sector  at  40  hours  per  week.   Domestic  employees  may  work  up 
to  55  hours  per  week.  There  are  also  general  laws  on  health 
and  safety  standards  in  the  workplace,  but  they  are  neither 
precisely  defined  nor  actively  enforced. 


70 


CHAD 


Chad  was  a  defacto  one-party  state  headed  by  President  Hissein 
Habre  until  early  December  when  he  was  overthrown  forcibly  by 
Idriss  Deby,  leader  of  the  Patriotic  Salvation  Movement 
(MPS).   In  his  first  few  days  in  power,  Deby  abolished  the 
constitution  of  1989  and  dissolved  most  governmental 
institutions.   He  promised,  however,  to  install  democratic 
government,  including,  eventually,  a  strengthened  national 
assembly,  and  to  respect  human  rights.   He  also  welcomed  into 
his  provisional  Government  members  of  the  Habre  regime  who 
were  not  tainted  by  allegations  of  human  rights  and  other 
abuses.   Habre 's  government  was  authoritarian,  deriving 
support  from  the  military,  which  in  turn  was  dominated  by 
President  Habre 's  Gorane  ethnic  group.   Habre  had  begun  a 
process  of  change  from  the  top  in  1989-1990,  including  the 
adoption  of  a  new  constitution  and  multicandidate  elections 
for  the  National  Assembly,  which  convened  for  the  first  time 
in  October.   The  Assembly  was  dissolved  by  Idriss  Deby. 

The  Habre  government  operated  a  large  and  complex  security  and 
military  apparatus  that  included  the  Army,  the  National 
Police,  the  National  Security  Service  (DDS),  and  a 
Presidential  Security  Service.   Again  in  1990,  there  were 
credible  reports  of  human  rights  abuses  committed  by  the 
military  and  other  security  forces,  especially  the  DDS.   Some 
DDS  officers  were  removed  in  1990  for  alleged  corruption. 
Within  a  few  days  of  assuming  power.  President  Deby  moved  to 
integrate  his  forces  with  the  Army,  and  he  disbanded  the  DDS. 

Chad  is  one  of  the  poorest  countries  in  the  world,  with  an 
estimated  per  capita  income  of  $205  per  annum.   The  national 
literacy  rate  is  estimated  at  25  percent,  and  95  percent  of 
the  population  is  engaged  in  subsistence  agriculture,  fishing, 
and  stockraising.   Cotton  is  Chad's  most  important  export. 
The  Government  relies  heavily  on  external  financial  support, 
especially  from  France,  to  meet  recurring  budgetary  costs  and 
virtually  100  percent  of  government  investment. 

Despite  the  promise  of  the  new  1989  constitution,  human  rights 
remained  circumscribed  in  1990.   The  Habre  government  failed 
to  address  the  numerous  allegations  of  extrajudicial 
executions,  torture  and  harsh  treatment  of  prisoners, 
indefinite  and  incommunicado  detentions,  and  denial  of  fair 
trial,  and  it  maintained  tight  restrictions  on  freedoms  of 
speech,  press,  assembly,  and  association,  as  well  as  the  right 
of  citizens  to  change  their  government  democratically. 
Discrimination  against  women  and  restrictions  on  worker  rights 
remained  serious  problems.   On  the  other  hand,  the  1990 
legislative  elections  seemed  fair  and  offered  Chadians  a  range 
of  choice  previously  unknown. 

The  Deby  regime  immediately  released  all  political  prisoners 
and  allowed  the  media  access  to  them,  including  to  those 
persons  who  had  been  tortured  by  the  Habre  regime.   Although 
Deby  pledged  to  develop  democratic  institutions  and  respect 
for  human  rights,  few  specific  steps  had  been  taken  toward 
these  goals  by  the  end  of  1990. 


71 


CHAD 

RESPECT  FOR  HUMAN  RIGHTS 

Section  1  Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.  Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

During  most  of  1990  there  were  reliable  reports,  including 
from  Amnesty  International  (AI)  sources,  that  the  Chadian  Army 
used  extreme  measures  against  civilian  populations  of  eastern 
villages  believed  to  harbor  MPS  rebels.  (The  MPS  was  then  an 
insurgent  force  consisting  primarily  of  the  Zaghawa  ethnic 
group  operating  out  of  western  Sudan.)   These  included  charges 
of  summary  executions,  arbitrary  arrests,  and  incommunicado 
detentions  of  men,  women,  and  children  related  to  rebels. 
Government  secrecy  under  Habre  made  it  very  difficult  to 
corroborate  allegations  of  these  or  other  human  rights 
abuses.   However,  the  summary  executions  of  Zaghawa  dissidents 
reportedly  took  place  subsequent  to  government/rebel  military 
battles  during  March  and  April.   There  were  no  reliable 
estimates  of  how  many  persons  died  through  such  extrajudicial 
killings.   The  Habre  government  denied  these  allegations,  but 
it  had  not  made  any  effort  to  investigate  them  or  to  respond 
to  inquiries  about  them  before  its  ouster.   They  were  also 
reliable  reports  of  arbitrary  killings  of  civilians  by  Habre 
forces  as  they  fled  Chad  in  December. 

The  Deby  Government  reported  that  Dr.  Ramadane  Amoli,  a  leader 
of  a  Hadjerai  opposition  group,  died  while  detained  by  the 
Habre  regime.   No  other  details  were  available. 

Reports  also  continued  to  circulate  in  1990  that  the  military 
forces  had  committed  abuses,  including  summary  executions, 
against  Hadjerai  dissidents  in  southeastern  Chad.   Many  of 
these  reports,  however,  may  have  referred  to  abuses  committed 
in  previous  years. 

b.  Disappearance 

Politically  motivated  disappearances  of  Zaghawa  and  Hadjerai 
dissidents  took  place  in  1990.   Direct  military  actions  in 
eastern  Chad  probably  caused  civilian  and  military  casualties 
in  1990  which  may  account  for  some  reported  disappearances. 
The  Habre  government  contended  that  many  reports  of 
disappearances  of  Zaghawas  were  false,  and  that  these  persons 
were  either  Sudanese  Zaghawas  who  returned  to  Sudan,  or 
Chadian  Zaghawas  who  fled  to  Sudan. 

The  Government  took  no  action  in  1990  to  clarify  the  fate  of 
hundreds  of  Chadian  soldiers  loyal  to  ex-President  Goukouni 
Oueddai  who  were  captured  in  1983  by  Habre  forces. 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment 

First-hand  accounts  of  cases  of  gross  mistreatment  and  torture 
by  Habre  regime  officials  came  to  light  after  Deby's 
assumption  of  power.   The  national  and  international  media 
provided  detailed  coverage  of  torture  by  the  DDS  under  Habre, 
including  a  graphic  account  by  Gali  Ngothe.   Ngothe,  a  former 
adviser  to  Habre  and  the  new  Minister  of  Higher  Education 
under  Deby,  was  detained  for  distributing  antigovernment 
tracts  and  severely  tortured  by  first  being  forced  to  drink 
excessive  amounts  of  water  and  then  dropped  from  a  ceiling 
beam.   Some  released  political  prisoners  presented  to  the 


72 


CHAD 

media  were  unable  to  walk  and  bore  scars  of  torture.   Chadian 
television  broadcast  reports  on  police  detention  facilities 
and  featured  close-up  views  of  partially  covered  corpses  with 
bound  wrists  and  feet,  as  well  as  of  electrical  torture 
instruments . 

The  special  AI  report  of  February  5,  1990,  stressed  that 
former  prisoners'  testimonies,  corroborated  by  medical 
examinations,  indicated  beatings  and  whippings  were  widespread 
throughout  Chad's  detention  centers.   Practices  by  guards 
included  the  use  of  electric  shocks  on  prisoners'  bodies.   The 
AI  report  also  stated  that  soldiers  had  forced  women  prisoners 
to  serve  as  prostitutes.   Habre's  government  never  made  a 
public  commitment  to  investigate  possible  abuses  or  to  enforce 
human  rights  guaranteed  by  the  constitution. 

Prison  conditions  in  Chad  under  the  Habre  regime  were  poor, 
and  deaths  due  to  malnutrition  occurred.   Most  prisoners  were 
dependent  on  their  families  for  food,  sleeping  mats, 
medicines,  and  other  necessities.   Political  prisoners  were 
often  held  incommunicado,  denied  medical  attention,  and 
frequently  moved.   Families  of  common  criminals,  however,  had 
daily  access.   Military  prisoners  were  separated  from  civilian 
prisoners  in  special  detention  centers.   Conditions  were  much 
the  same  in  all  prisons. 

d.   Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

The  constitution  and  the  penal  code  under  Habre  provided  for 
safeguards  against  arbitrary  arrests  and  gave  detainees 
specific  rights,  including  the  right  to  counsel  and  the  right 
to  be  promptly  presented  with  charges.   In  practice,  however, 
the  Habre  government  used  its  absolute  power  to  arrest  and 
detain  persons  without  a  legal  warrant  and  without  checks  by 
the  judiciary.   Actions,  publications,  or  verbal  expressions 
that  were  considered  critical  of  government  policy  were  likely 
to  be  interpreted  as  seditious  and  led  to  arrest  and  detention 
without  charge,  trial,  or  access  to  counsel  or  family. 
According  to  the  AI  special  report,  a  system  of  secret 
detention  was  condoned  at  the  highest  level  of  government. 
Gali  Ngothe  claimed  he  heard  Habre's  voice  over  a  radio 
directing  his  torture.   The  DDS  was  the  main  agency  that 
detained  political  prisoners.   The  Habre  government  admitted 
"exceptional  detentions"  of  government  opponents  but  never 
clarified  the  meaning  of  this  category. 

The  total  number  of  political  detainees  held  in  Chad  during 
Habre's  last  year  in  power  is  not  known,  but  it  is  believed 
that  180  Hadjerai  and  200  Zaghawa,  including  children,  were 
still  being  held  incommunicado  at  the  time  of  his  fall.   A 
number  of  persons  loyal  to  ex-president  Goukouni  Oueddai  also 
remained  in  detention  then.   Most  of  those  prisoners  had  never 
been  charged  or  brought  to  trial.   The  Habre  government  denied 
holding  political  prisoners.   At  least  30  political  detainees 
were  released  by  Deby  forces  in  December . 

While  the  Habre  government  would  not  release  a  definite  count, 
a  significant  number  of  Libyan  prisoners  of  war  (POW's) — 
probably  2,000 — had  remained  in  Chadian  camps  since  1987.   In 
August  the  government  permitted  the  International  Committee  of 
the  Red  Cross  (ICRC)  to  visit  53  Libyan  POW's  scheduled  for 
release.   Also  in  1990,  the  African  Jurists'  Association 
visited  all  Libyan  POW's  in  detention  and  reported  that  their 
treatment  and  condition  were  satisfactory.   In  December  the 
Deby  Government  released  all  remaining  Libyans,  with  roughly 


73 


CHAD 

400  electing  to  return  to  Libya  and  others  seeking  asylum 
elsewhere. 

President  Habre's  program  for  national  reconciliation  included 
a  call  for  the  return  of  Chadian  exiles.   While  Goukouni 
remained  in  exile,  many  others,  including  members  of 
opposition  groups  returned  and  were  integrated  into  the 
government.   Unlike  previous  years,  there  were  no  reports  of 
detention  of  returning  exiles  during  1990.   Deby  has  also 
invited  new  exiles  to  return  without  fear  of  reprisal.   At 
year's  end,  several  hundred  refugees  who  had  fled  the  Habre 
regime  had  reportedly  returned  to  Chad;  others  were  taking  a 
wait-and-see  attitude. 

e.  Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

Deby's  plans  for  the  role  and  organization  of  the  judiciary 
were  not  clear  at  year's  end.   The  constitution  under  Habre 
called  for  an  independent  judiciary,  but  this  goal  was  not 
realized.   In  practice,  the  civilian  judicial  system  did  not 
deal  with  political  offenses  or  the  large  number  of  political 
detainees.   Trials  in  criminal  cases  were  open  or  closed,  at 
the  discretion  of  the  Habre  government.   Persons  arrested  for 
political  or  security-related  offenses  were  detained  in 
secret,  tried  in  secret,  and  formal  charges  were  not  publicly 
announced . 

Chad's  judicial  system  is  at  best  rudimentary.   Twenty  years 
of  civil  war  severely  disrupted  the  modern  legal  system, 
modified  from  the  French  colonial  legal  system.   Three  forms 
of  courts  existed  in  Chad  under  the  Habre  regime;   a  civilian 
judiciary  called  for  under  the  constitution,  a  traditional 
system  presided  over  by  village  sheiks  and  sultans,  and  the 
powerful  security-military  system.   Progress  was  particularly 
slow  in  government  efforts  to  institute  civilian  law 
enforcement  and  civilian  courts  in  prefectures  outside  the 
capital . 

The  constitution  under  Habre  called  for  the  eventual 
establishment  of  a  supreme  court.   One  appellate  court  was 
seated  in  the  capital.   It  reviewed  decisions  of  lower  courts 
and  was  charged  with  judging  all  cases  that  called  for  more 
than  a  2-year  penalty.   There  were  several  nonpolitical  cases 
in  1990  in  which  the  courts  ruled  against  the  government,  but 
the  judiciary  remained  subject  to  influence  by  the  executive 
branch.   Due  to  the  shortage  of  magistrates  and  justices  of 
the  peace  outside  of  N'Djamena,  military  district  commanders 
acted  as  judges  in  civil  and  criminal  cases.   Access  to 
attorneys  was  guaranteed  under  the  law,  but  in  practice  was 
allowed  only  with  the  consent  of  the  authorities.   There  were 
only  three  private  attorneys  in  the  country. 

The  traditional  or  customary  system  of  justice,  common  in 
rural  areas  and  used  for  civil  matters,  is  not  codified. 
However,  traditional  law  and  judgments  are  generally  respected 
by  the  population.   Under  Habre,  appeal  by  law  was  possible  to 
the  regular  civilian  courts  but  rarely  occurred. 

f .  Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 
Correspondence 

Under  the  Habre  regime  homes  could  be  searched  by  law  only 
during  daytime  hours  and  only  under  authority  of  a  warrant. 
In  practice,  security  personnel  searched  homes  and  arrested 
occupants  without  a  warrant  from  judicial  authorities.   Though 


74 


CHAD 

many  high-ranking  officials  belonged  to  Habre ' s  party,  the 
National  Union  for  Independence  and  Revolution  (UNIR) , 
membership  was  not  required,  including  for  government 
employment . 

Surveillance  of  persons  and  monitoring  of  telephone 
conversations  was  sporadic.   Correspondence  was  often  checked 
if  carried  overland  within  Chad.   However,  there  was  no 
indication  that  international  mail  or  internal  correspondence 
forwarded  through  the  Chadian  postal  system  was  monitored. 

Section  2  Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including: 

a.  Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

The  constitution  provided  for  freedom  of  speech,  but  in 
practice  public  or  private  statements  which  the  Habre 
government  considered  seditious  or  liable  to  incite  opposition 
were  not  permitted.   Self-censorship  was  exercised  by  many 
Chadians  who  opposed  the  government.   The  government  detained 
persons  for  expressing  views,  either  verbally  or  in  writing, 
critical  of  the  government,  including  in  1990  advocating  a 
multiparty  system.   Opposition  views  were  not  voiced  in  the 
media . 

Chadian  television,  radio,  and  the  two  newspapers  were 
government  controlled  under  Habre,  and  Deby  has  continued  this 
practice.   In  the  early  days  of  the  Deby  government, 
journalists  were  allowed  great  latitude  in  publishing  and 
broadcasting  to  a  degree  unknown  under  the  Habre  regime. 
Foreign  publications  are  available  in  Chad,  and  there  were  no 
reports  that  foreign  publications  were  censored  or  withdrawn 
from  circulation  during  1990.   The  academic  system  is  state 
supported,  but  under  Habre  generally  operated  free  of 
government  control  of  curriculum  or  course  content.   Class 
discussions  were  subject  to  the  same  restrictions  imposed  on 
the  media. 

b.  Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

While  freedom  of  assembly  was  provided  for  in  the  new 
constitution  under  Habre,  in  practice  antigovernment 
demonstrations  or  meetings  were  not  permitted.   There  were  no 
known  attempts  in  1990  by  the  population  to  assemble  to 
express  antigovernment  views. 

Freedom  of  association  was  also  promised  by  the  constitution, 
but  political  interaction  among  persons  and  groups  opposed  to 
the  Habre  government  would  have  been  interpreted  by  the 
government  as  a  threat  to  state  security. 

c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

Chad  is  officially  a  secular  state  in  which  Islam, 
Christianity,  and  other  religions  are  practiced  without 
official  constraint.   Both  Islamic  and  Christian  holidays  are 
given  official  status.   More  than  50  percent  of  Chad's 
population  is  Muslim,  and  Chad  is  a  member  of  the  Organization 
of  the  Islamic  Conference.   Christian  and  other  missionaries 
may  enter  the  country  to  proselytize  and  perform  public 
assistance  work.   Christian  missionaries  are  most  active  in 
the  non-Muslim  south.   In  1990  there  were  no  reports  of 
harassment  for  religious  views,  and  strictly  religious 
publications  are  disseminated  without  government  restriction. 


75 


CHAD 

d.   Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

Most  Chadians  enjoy  freedom  to  move  around  the  country,  except 
within  military  zones  or  areas  of  recent  or  potential  combat. 
Clearance  by  internal  security  services  is  required  for 
international  travel.   In  1990  this  did  not  appear  to  impede 
travel  by  most  applicants,  but  it  provides  the  means  for  the 
Habre  government  to  bar  travel  by  anyone  considered  an 
opponent  of  the  government.   Chadians  are  free  to  emigrate  and 
have  the  right  to  return. 

In  the  past,  thousands  of  Chadians  fled  drought  and  civil  war 
to  settle  in  neighboring  countries.   Several  hundred  refugees 
returned  in  1990,  and  government  organizations  assisted  them. 
There  were  no  indications  that  returning  refugees  were 
ill-treated  in  1990. 

Section  3  Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

In  1990  under  Habre,  Chadians  lacked  the  right  to  change  their 
government  by  democratic  means.   Deby's  provisional  Government 
abolished  the  constitution  and  many  institutions  of  the  Habre 
regime.   Deby  has  promised  to  install  a  multiparty  system,  but 
he  had  not  announced  any  specific  steps  by  the  end  of  the  year 
toward  this  goal.   While  the  1989  constitution  called  for 
separation  of  power  among  the  executive,  legislative,  and 
judicial  branches  of  government,  the  executive  under  President 
Habre  held  all  authority.   President  Habre  governed  through  a 
Council  of  Ministers  and  a  National  Consultative  Council,  the 
members  of  which  were  appointed  by  him  and  chosen  for  regional 
and  ethnic  balance. 

The  new  constitution,  adopted  by  popular  referendum  in  1989, 
provided  for  universal,  secret  suffrage,  presidential 
elections  every  7  years,  and  elections  for  the  National 
Assembly  every  5  years.   In  December  1989,  President  Habre,  as 
the  sole  candidate  of  his  party,  UNIR,  was  elected  to  a  7-year 
term.   The  constitution  was  silent  on  the  matter  of  political 
parties,  but  only  one  political  party,  UNIR,  was  permitted 
under  Habre. 

The  1990  elections  for  the  National  Assembly  were  hotly 
contested  with  as  many  as  eight  candidates  vying  for  a  single 
seat.   Party  membership  was  not  required  for  candidacy.   There 
was  no  evidence  of  government  interference,  and  a  number  of 
government  candidates  were  defeated.   A  significant  number  of 
the  new  delegates  were  not  members  of  UNIR. 

Throughout  11  months  of  1990,  Chad  continued  to  face 
substantial  external  and  internal  threats  on  two  fronts,  from 
Libya  in  the  north,  which  occupies  the  Aozou  border  strip,  and 
from  the  MPS,  an  insurgent  group  dominated  by  the  Zaghawa  and 
Hadjerai  ethnic  groups,  operating  out  of  western  Sudan. 
Direct  military  engagements  between  the  Chadian  Army  and  the 
insurgents  occurred  in  March  and  April  1990,  resulting  in 
substantial  loss  of  life  .on  both  sides.   In  November  the  MPS 
launched  an  offensive  from  Sudan  which  toppled  the  Habre 
regime  within  several  weeks. 


76 


CHAD 

Section  4  Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

In  1990  Chad  cooperated  with  the  ICRC  and  the  African  Jurists' 
Association,  by  allowing  access  to  some  of  the  Libyan  POW s 
detained  since  1987.   Also,  in  late  1990  the  Habre  government 
expressed  a  willingness  to  respond  to  AI ' s  charges  of  serious 
human  rights  violations.   It  asserted  that  AI ' s  allegations 
were  unfounded,  and  up  to  the  date  of  its  fall  had  not 
released  any  information  about  specific  abuses  or  about 
possible  future  investigations. 

Section  5  Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

There  are  approximately  200  ethnic  groups  in  Chad.   They  are 
roughly  divided  among  Saharan  and  Arab  Muslims  in  the  northern 
and  eastern  regions,  and  Bantu  peoples,  who  practice  either 
Christianity  or  animist  religions,  in  the  south.   Sustained 
civil  war  since  1965,  revolving  around  ethnic  disputes,  has 
badly  fractured  any  sense  of  national  identity.   From  1979  to 
1982,  when  Habre  took  power,  as  many  as  11  different  armies, 
representing  different  ethnic  groups  or  political 
orientations,  battled  each  other.   De  facto  discrimination  by 
the  formerly  dominant  Gorane  ethnic  group  against  other 
groups,  and  the  backlash  against  that  discrimination,  were 
major  factors  in  the  fall  of  the  Habre  government.   National 
reconciliation  will  be  difficult  to  achieve,  given  Chad's 
history  and  the  deep  divisions  among  its  many  ethnic  groups. 

Officially,  the  Habre  government  opposed  discrimination,  and 
Chadian  women  had  full  political  equality  and  protection  under 
the  law.   However,  culture  and  tradition  among  many  of  Chad's 
various  ethnic  groups  are  strongly  patriarchal  and  accord 
women  lower  status.   Neither  traditional  law  nor  the  Chadian 
civil  and  penal  codes  fully  protect  women's  rights.   The 
literacy  rate  for  women  is  significantly  lower  than  for  men. 
A  few  women  are  found  in  higher  positions  in  government  as 
well  as  in  commerce,  the  professions,  and  the  military,  and 
both  the  party  and  the  government  at  cabinet  level  have  spoken 
of  the  need  to  advance  women's  rights.   Nonetheless,  women 
face  a  host  of  problems. 

Household  violence  directed  against  women  is  believed  to  be 
common,  and  women  have  only  limited  legal  recourses  against 
abusive  spouses.   Female  genital  mutilation  (circumcision)  is 
widespread  in  Chad,  particularly  in  the  south.   While  the 
Habre  government  expressed  opposition  to  circumcision,  no  laws 
were  enacted  to  prohibit  the  practice,  which  is  deeply  rooted 
in  traditional  religious  attitudes  of  many  Chadians. 

Section  6  Worker  Rights 

a.   The  Right  of  Association 

Given  the  level  of  economic  development,  Chad's  labor  movement 
is  in  its  infancy.   Eighty  percent  of  all  Chadian  workers  are 
involved  in  subsistence  agriculture,  animal  husbandry,  or 
fishing.   Involvement  in  labor  organizations  centers  mostly  on 
the  public  sector  and  the  small  commercial  sector. 

Under  Habre  workers  were  free  to  join  or  form  unions  of  their 
own  choosing.   However,  all  unions  were  required  to  join  the 
government-sanctioned  umbrella  organization,  the  National 


77 


CHAD 

Union  of  Chadian  Trade  Unions  (UNST) .   In  1990  UNST  claimed  to 
operate  as  a  labor  organization  separate  from  party  and 
government  control,  but  with  procedural  ties  to  the  Ministry 
of  Labor,  i.e.,  the  government  had  the  right  to  approve 
certain  appointments  to  union  positions.   There  was  in  fact 
some  government  liberalization  of  controls  on  UNST,  which 
included  officially  separating  it  from  UNIR  and  allowing  UNST 
to  be  financially  independent  of  the  government.   However, 
UNST  and  member  unions  were  subject  to  the  same  constraints  as 
other  institutions  and  required  to  restrict  voicing  opposition 
to  government  policy.   By  the  end  of  1990,  there  was  no 
indication  on  the  Deby  Government's  policy  towards  unions. 

Under  Habre  strikes  were  allowed  only  if  authorized  by  the 
Government.   There  were  no  prohibitions  on  unions 
participating  in  or  joining  international  labor 
organizations.   The  Deby  Government  has  given  no  indication 
that  labor  activity  or  strikes  would  be  restricted.   Several 
strikes  of  short  duration  took  place  in  December,  and 
solutions  were  negotiated  with  the  Government. 

b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

The  law  does  not  specifically  prohibit  antiunion 
discrimination,  but  antiunionism  was  not  an  issue  in  Chad 
during  1990. 

While  the  right  of  labor  to  bargain  collectively  was  provided 
under  Chadian  law  under  Habre,  these  rights  were  substantially 
weakened  by  provisions  that  allowed  the  Habre  government  to 
intervene  in  the  collective  bargaining  process  and  that 
rec[uired  bargaining  parties  to  submit  collective  agreements  to 
the  government  for  approval  prior  to  the  agreements  coming 
into  force.   At  year's  end  the  Deby  Government  had  given  no 
indication  of  what  role  it  would  take  in  the  collective 
bargaining  process. 

Minimimi  wages  were  set  by  the  government  through  the  Ministry 
of  Labor.   Although  a  union  could  participate  in  negotiations 
with  the  Habre  government,  labor  organizations  had  no 
effective  leverage  to  force  the  government  to  accede  to  labor 
demands . 

There  are  no  export  processing  zones  in  Chad. 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

There  is  no  specific  prohibition  on  forced  or  compulsory  labor 
in  Chadian  law.   In  1990  there  were  no  reports  of  forced  or 
compulsory  labor  in  the  agricultural  or  other  private 
sectors.   Forced  conscription  of  males  for  military  service 
continued  under  Habre  in  1990,  and  young  men,  including 
juveniles,  were  rounded  up  on  the  streets. 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

The  minimum  age  for  employment  of  children  is  14  in  the  wage 
sector,  but  enforcement  of  this  law  is  limited.   In  practice, 
employment  of  children  is  almost  nonexistent,  except  on  family 
farms,  due  to  the  shortage  of  work  for  adults. 

e.  Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

Nationwide  minimum  wage  scales  exist  for  separate  categories 
of  work,  with  the  lowest  permissible  salary  being 


78 


CHAD 

approximately  $25  per  month.   Minimum  wages  are  insufficient 
to  support  subsistence  much  less  an  acceptable  standard  of 
living.   Many  workers  rely  on  second  jobs,  subsistence 
agriculture,  and/or  assistance  from  the  extended  family. 

Most  nonagricultural  work  is  limited  by  law  to  48  hours  per 
week  with  overtime  paid  for  supplementary  hours.   Agricultural 
workers  are  statutorily  limited  to  2,400  work  hours  per  year. 
All  workers  are  entitled  to  24  consecutive  hours  of  rest  per 
week.   Occupational  health  and  safety  standards  have  been 
established  for  the  work  environment,  but  enforcement  is  rare. 

Chad's  poverty  and  limited  economy  make  salaried  work  a 
precious  commodity.   Both  enforcement  of  laws  and 
employee-generated  complaints  on  work  conditions  are  nearly 
nonexistent.   The  principal  employer  in  Chad  is  the  Government 
which,  due  to  a  severely  restricted  budget,  had  difficulty 
paying  its  own  employees  during  1990. 


79 


COMOROS  . 

Located  in  the  Mozambique  Channel  between  East  Africa  and 
Madagascar,  the  Federal  and  Islamic  Republic  of  the  Comoros 
comprises  three  islands  and  claims  a  fourth,  Mayotte,  which  is 
still  governed  by  France.   Until  his  assassination  in  November 
1989,  President  Abdallah,  backed  by  the  Presidential  Guard, 
presided  over  a  de  facto  one-party  state.   Following  his 
assassination,  effective  power  was  exercised  by  a  French 
soldier  of  fortune  and  some  25  European  mercenaries  who  were 
serving  as  officers  of  the  Presidential  Guard.   This  group, 
under  pressure  from  France  and  South  Africa,  departed  the 
Comoros  on  December  15,  1989,  leaving  command  of  the 
Presidential  Guard  in  the  hands  of  French  troops  who  arrived 
the  same  day. 

French  military  advisers  assisted  throughout  1990  in  helping 
the  new  Government  restructure  and  reduce  the  regular  military 
and  police  forces.   At  year's  end,  the  restructured  security 
forces  were  under  effective  civilian  control. 

Early  in  1990,  opposition  politicians  returned  from  exile,  and 
a  wide  spectrum  of  political  leaders  discussed  preparations 
for  new  presidential  elections,  which  subsecpjently  took  place 
in  two  stages  and  under  somewhat  tumultuous  conditions. 
Candidates  from  eight  political  parties  contested  the  opening 
round.   The  acting  President,  Said  Mohamed  Djohar,  emerged  the 
winner  in  the  second  round  runoff,  while  his  defeated 
opponent,  Mohamed  Taki,  refused  to  accept  the  results  and 
departed  the  country.   While  allegations  of  fraud  and 
tampering  with  ballot  boxes  were  made  by  opposing  political 
parties,  most  outside  observers,  including  representatives 
from  the  Organization  of  African  Unity  (OAU) ,  considered  that 
these  instances  did  not  decisively  alter  the  results. 
Following  his  inauguration  on  March  20,  the  new  President 
vowed  to  promote  full  democracy  in  the  Comoros  and  later  led  a 
coalition  of  five  parties,  which  included  former  opposition 
figures  in  ministerial  positions.   Legislative  elections  for 
the  National  Assembly  and  the  promulgation  of  a  revised 
Constitution  firmly  establishing  a  multiparty  system  and 
protecting  basic  hiiman  rights  were  scheduled  for  the  end  of 
the  year.   However,  because  of  administrative  delays,  they 
were  postponed  until  early  1991.   The  positive  events  of  1990 
were  marred  by  the  mysterious  death  of  Said  Mlindre,  one  of 
Mohamed  Taki's  supporters,  while  in  police  custody. 

Agriculture  dominates  the  economy,  but  the  Comoros  is  running 
out  of  arable  land,  and  soil  erosion  on  the  steep  volcanic 
slopes  is  exacerbating  the  problem.   Revenues  from  the  export 
of  vanilla,  essence  of  ylang  ylang,  and  cloves  continue  to 
fall.   Comoros  is  part  of  the  French  franc  monetary  zone  and 
depends  heavily  on  France  for  budgetary  support  and  technical 
and  security  assistance. 

Human  rights  advanced  significantly  in  1990,  particularly  in 
the  areas  of  freedom  of  speech  and  press,  assembly  and 
association,  and  the  right  of  citizens  to  change  their 
government.   Despite  questions  raised  by  the  Mlindre  case, 
respect  for  the  integrity  of  the  person  also  appeared  to  be 
greater.   The  major  threats  to  the  Comoros'  budding  democracy 
are  the  lack  of  internal  security  arrangements  and  poor 
economic  conditions. 


80 


COMOROS 

RESPECT  FOR  HUMAN  RIGHTS 

Section  l  Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.  Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

There  were  no  confirmed  reports  of  such  killing  in  1990. 
However,  the  Government  investigated  the  case  of  Said  Mlindre, 
a  telecommunications  employee  and  member  of  presidential 
candidate  Taki's  political  party,  who  died  while  in  government 
custody.   He  and  several  other  Taki  supporters  were  arrested 
in  August  and  charged  with  conspiracy  to  destabilize  the 
Government  and  with  aiding  foreign  mercenaries.   Mlindre  died 
on  the  night  of  September  15  after  he  lapsed  into  a  coma  while 
in  detention.   The  Government  maintains  he  died  of  natural 
causes,  while  his  family  alleges  torture  and  poisoning.   The 
family,  however,  would  not  permit  an  autopsy.   The  President 
ordered  an  inquiry,  which  allowed  the  press  to  interview 
persons  who  were  detained  along  with  Mlindre.   According  to  a 
foreign  diplomat  who  interviewed  one  of  those  detained,  it 
appears  that  the  detainees  were  beaten  shortly  after  their 
arrest  in  August,  but  not  afterwards.   A  doctor  who  attended 
Mlindre  on  the  night  of  his  death  testified  he  was  unable  to 
determine  whether  the  death  was  natural  or  inflicted  because 
he  lacked  the  means  to  perform  an  autopsy  and  because  the 
family  insisted  on  immediate  burial.   For  these  reasons,  the 
actual  circumstances  may  never  be  known.   A  local  human  rights 
group  was  denied  permission  to  inspect  the  prison  and 
interview  the  other  detainees. 

b.  Disappearance 

There  were  no  reports  of  disappearance  in  1990. 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment 

There  were  no  substantiated  reports  of  torture  or  other  cruel, 
inhuman,  or  degrading  treatment  or  punishment  in  1990. 
However,  various  opposition  newspapers  maintained  that  Said 
Mlindre  and  the  others  detained  in  August  in  connection  with 
the  alleged  plot  to  destabilize  the  Government  were  beaten. 

d.  Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

In  1990  there  were  no  known  cases  of  arbitrary  arrest  or 
detention,  although  the  circumstances  surrounding  the 
detention  of  Said  Mlindre  and  other  Taki  supporters  had  not 
been  fully  clarified  by  the  end  of  1990.   The  law  provides  for 
a  detained  person  to  be  charged  within  48  hours,  but  this 
procedure  was  not  followed  in  the  case  of  Mlindre  and  the 
others  who  were  arrested  in  August. 

Numerous  opposition  political  figures,  who  had  been  abroad  in 
self-imposed  exile  during  the  Abdallah  period,  returned  to  the 
Comoros  in  early  1990  to  participate  in  the  presidential 
elections.   The  Government  issued  a  list  declaring  96  foreign 
mercenaries  persona  non  grata. 

e.  Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

The  1978  Constitution  provides  for  the  equality  of  all 
citizens  before  the  law  and  the  right  of  all  accused  to 
defense  counsel.   The  Comorian  legal  system  applies  Islamic 


81 


COMOROS 

law  and  an  inherited  French  legal  code.   Most  disputes  are 
settled  by  village  elders  or  by  a  civilian  court  of  first 
instance.   In  regular  civil  and  criminal  cases,  the  judiciary 
is  usually  independent,  and  trials  are  public.   The  Supreme 
Court  has  the  power  to  review  the  decisions  of  lower  courts, 
including  the  Court  of  Appeals.   National  security  cases — 
involving  attempts  to  destabilize  the  country  or  overthrow  the 
Government  by  violent  means — are  handled  in  the  regular  court 
system.   In  1990  the  only  national  security  case  related  to 
the  assassination  of  President  Abdallah  in  November  1989,  and 
is  under  French  jurisdiction,  because  all  the  persons  involved, 
including  Abdallah  and  his  alleged  assailants,  held  French 
citizenship. 

f .   Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 
Correspondence 

The  Constitution  provides  for  the  inviolability  of  home  and 
property.   There  were  no  known  cases  of  arbitrary  interference 
with  privacy,  including  correspondence,  in  1990. 

Section  2  Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including: 

a.  Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

The  Constitution  provides  for  freedom  of  expression,  thought, 
and  conscience,  and  these  were  generally  respected  during 
1990.   This  is  in  marked  contrast  to  the  experience  under  the 
Abdallah  regime,  which  tended  to  pressure  the  government-owned 
radio  station  and  semiofficial  fortnightly  newspaper  into 
self-censorship,  despite  constitutional  guarantees. 

Comorians  discuss  and  criticize  the  Government  and  its  leading 
personalities  openly  in  many  situations.   A  wide  spectrum  of 
political  views  was  aired  in  the  roundtable  discussions 
leading  up  to  the  presidential  elections.   The  election 
campaign  itself  was  open,  lively,  and  marked  by  numerous 
rallies  by  the  eight  contesting  parties,  which  were  free  to 
distribute  literature  and  posters. 

The  print  media  also  experienced  a  significant  degree  of 
openness  from  the  beginning  of  the  year,  and  several  small, 
independent  newspapers  were  published.   The  semiofficial 
newspaper,  which  became  a  weekly,  carried  reporting  and  paid 
political  advertising  by  the  presidential  candidates  during 
the  election  campaign.   Following  the  election,  this  newspaper 
continued  to  report  the  views  of  opposition  party  leaders  and 
emerging  nongovernmental  groups.   Lack  of  funds  and  illiteracy 
are  the  biggest  obstacles  to  a  wide  press  audience. 

Foreign  journals  and  newspapers  are  available,  as  are  books 
from  abroad.   The  Paris-based  Indian  Ocean  Newsletter  and 
Lettre  de  Comores,  which  are  often  highly  critical  of  the 
Government,  arrive  unhindered  through  the  international  mail. 

b.  Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

The  Constitution  provides  for  freedom  of  assembly  and 
association.   Under  the  late  President  Abdallah,  Comorians 
were  circumspect  about  organizing  public  political  gatherings, 
and  political  groupings  kept  a  fairly  low  profile.   All  of 
this  changed  in  1990  as  new  political  parties  were  formed,  old 
ones  were  resurrected,  and  numerous  rallies  and  assemblies 


36-976  0-91-4 


82 


COMOROS 

took  place  with  a  minimum  of  governmental  interference.   No 
political  parties  are  banned. 

c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

An  overwhelming  majority  of  the  population  is  Sunni  Muslim. 
The  Constitution  holds  Islam  to  be  the  "wellspring  of  the 
principles  and  rules  which  guide  the  State  and  its 
institutions."   The  State  upholds  the  right  of  non-Muslims  to 
practice  their  faith,  however.   There  are  churches  for  the 
small  Catholic  and  Protestant  populations.   Christian 
missionaries  work  in  local  hospitals  and  schools,  but  by  local 
custom  they  are  not  allowed  to  proselytize. 

d.  Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

There  are  no  restrictions  on  travel  within  the  country  or 
abroad,  and  exit  visas  are  freely  granted. 

Section  3  Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

Under  Abdallah,  the  right  of  citizens  to  change  their 
government  through  peaceful  means  existed  in  theory  but  not  in 
practice.   With  his  death  and  the  departure  of  the  mercenaries 
who  had  led  his  Presidential  Guard,  a  new  political  era  opened 
in  the  Comoros.   No  less  than  14  political  groupings  were 
represented  in  the  roundtable  discussions  held  prior  to  the 
elections;  8  of  these  fielded  candidates  for  the  elections. 
For  the  first  time,  Comorians  were  able  to  choose  their  new 
President  from  among  multiple  candidates.   The  candidates 
issued  platforms  of  varying  ideological  positions,  which  were 
published  in  the  semiofficial  newspaper.   In  the  second  round 
runoff.  Said  Mohamed  Djohar  defeated  Mohamed  Taki  by  gaining 
55  percent  of  the  votes.   Taki  claimed  electoral  fraud  and 
continued  to  contest  the  results  from  abroad. 

Traditional  social,  religious,  and  economic  institutions  also 
importantly  influence  the  country's  political  life. 
Intraisland  rivalries  have  been  a  persistent  and  growing 
factor.   Village  notables  and  Muslim  religious  leaders  tend  to 
dominate  local  politics. 

Section  4  Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

After  1986  the  Abdallah  government  did  not  respond  to  requests 
from  human  rights  organizations,  including,  as  far  as  is 
known.  Amnesty  International's  call  for  an  investigation 
regarding  the  alleged  use  of  torture  on  some  detainees  held 
after  a  1987  coup  attempt.   A  team  of  observers  from  the  OAU 
monitored  the  March  1990  presidential  elections  and  declared 
it  was  satisfied  with  the  conduct  of  the  polling. 

An  organization  calling  itself  the  Comorian  Association  for 
the  Rights  of  Man  was  established  in  May.   It  has  been  active 
in  pursuing  human  rights  causes,  including  the  death  in 
detention  of  Said  Mlindre,  with  no  interference  from  the 
Government.   The  President  also  swiftly  launched  an  inquiry 
into  the  affair,  and  the  case  received  attention  in  the 
international  press.   However,  no  formal  results  of  these 
inquiries  had  been  made  public  by  year's  end. 


83 


COMOROS 

Section  5  Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

The  constitutional  recognition  of  Islam's  special  status 
formalizes  the  deeply  held  but  tolerant  commitment  of  most 
Comorians  to  an  Islamic  world  view.   The  society  respects 
authority  based  on  inheritance,  age,  wealth,  and  religious 
leadership.   The  Constitution  formally  provides  for  the 
equality  of  citizens  regardless  of  race,  sex,  or  religion. 
Nevertheless,  within  Comorian  society,  men  have  the  dominant 
role.   Women  have  the  right  to  vote  and  participate,  in 
theory,  in  the  political  process  as  candidates,  but  tradition 
has  been  a  powerful  force  in  discouraging  women  from  direct 
participation  in  politics.   A  Comorian  Women's  Federation  was 
formed  in  late  1989  and  aims  to  assemble  and  propose  "a  family 
bill  of  rights."   Women  are  not  required  to  be  veiled,  nor  are 
they  barred  from  employment.   Change  in  the  status  of  women  is 
most  evident  in  the  major  towns.   Women  are  finding  increasing 
employment  opportunities  in  the  small  paid  labor  force  and 
generally  receive  wages  comparable  to  those  of  men  in  similar 
work.   Property  rights  do  not  disfavor  women;  for  example,  the 
house  the  father  of  the  bride  traditionally  provides  to  the 
couple  at  the  time  of  their  marriage  remains  her  property, 
even  if  her  husband  divorces  her. 

Violence  against  women,  including  wife  beating,  occurs. 
However,  medical  authorities,  the  Women's  Federation,  and  the 
police  believe  that  violence  against  women  is  rare,  in  part 
because  of  the  nonviolent  nature  of  Comorian  society.   The 
Government  has  not  addressed  this  issue  specifically,  however, 
and  there  are  no  studies  or  statistics  available  to  help 
determine  the  extent  of  the  problem.   In  principle,  a  woman 
can  seek  protection  through  the  courts  in  the  case  of 
violence,  but  in  reality  the  issue  would  most  likely  be 
addressed  within  the  extended  family  or  at  the  village  level. 
Female  circumcision  is  not  practiced  in  the  Comoros. 

Section  6  Worker  Rights 

a.   The  Right  of  Association 

The  Constitution  allows  workers  to  form  unions  and  to  strike, 
but  these  rights  only  became  a  reality  in  1990.   The 
association  of  workers  into  unions  is  in  an  early  stage; 
farming  on  small  land  holdings,  subsistence  fishing,  and  petty 
commerce  make  up  the  daily  activity  of  most  of  the  population. 
Hence,  the  wage  labor  force  is  small  (less  than  2,000, 
excluding  government  employees).   For  the  first  time,  groups 
of  teachers,  civil  servants,  and  dock  workers — which  in 
previous  years  formed  temporary  associations  to  press  their 
demands — formed  into  unions  for  purposes  of  collective  action. 
In  1990  there  were  work  stoppages  and  slowdowns  by  all  three 
groups.   The  Government  did  not  interfere  with  these  actions, 
but  the  basic  issues  of  low  or  late  wages  remained  unsolved 
because  of  the  financial  and  economic  problems  which  beset  the 
country. 

Unions  are  free  to  join  in  confederations  and  to  associate  in 
international  bodies,  although  the  state  of  union  development 
did  not  permit  such  association  in  1990.   The  Comoros  ratified 
International  Labor  Organization  (ILO)  Convention  87  on 
freedom  of  association  and  ILO  Convention  98  on  the  right  to 
organize  and  bargain  collectively  in  1978. 


84 


COMOROS 

b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

There  are  no  laws  that  prohibit  antiunion  discrimination  or 
protect  collective  bargaining,  which  is  still  in  its  infancy. 
Labor  legislation,  to  the  extent  that  it  exists,  is  found 
mainly  in  the  Labor  Code,  which  is  not  rigidly  enforced.   The 
Labor  Code  does  not  address  the  issue  of  collective 
bargaining.   The  private  sector  sets  wages  by  employee/ 
employer  informal  negotiations.   Public  workers'  wages  are  set 
by  government  policy  through  the  Ministries  of  Finance  and 
Labor.   It  is  now  economic  rather  than  political  impediments 
which  stand  in  the  way  of  a  more  active  role  by  labor 
organizations.   Unofficial  unemployment  figures  exceed  70 
percent.   There  are  no  export  processing  zones. 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

The  Constitution  forbids  forced  or  compulsory  labor,  and  it  is 
not  practiced  in  the  Comoros. 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

The  minimuin  age  for  the  employment  of  children  is  15,  and  this 
minimum  is  generally  respected  in  the  small  wage  sector. 
Child  labor  is  not  an  issue  due  to  the  lack  of  employment 
opportunities  for  adolescents  and  young  adults,   Children  do 
help  in  family  units  in  the  large  subsistence  sector.  " 

e.  Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

The  currently  accepted  minimum  wage  is  approximately  $50  per 
month,  which  is  barely  adequate  to  cover  basic  human  needs. 
This  is  a  legislated  minimum  wage,  and  it  is  legally  binding. 
However,  the  hours  of  work  in  any  one  job  rarely  exceed  35 
hours  per  week.   Most  workers  also  have  access  to  some 
subsistence  agriculture  or  fishing  and  receive  support  from 
the  extended  family.   The  Government  periodically  reminds 
employers  to  respect  the  Labor  Code,  which  guarantees  a  day 
off  per  week,  plus  a  month  of  paid  vacation  per  year. 
Otherwise,  the  Government's  role  in  such  labor-related  fields 
as  setting  health  and  safety  standards  is  minimal. 


85 


CONGO 


For  most  of  1990,  the  People's  Republic  of  the  Congo  remained 
a  single-party  state  ruled  by  the  Marxist-modeled  Congolese 
Workers  Party.  (PCT),  with  power  concentrated  in  the  hands  of 
President  Denis  Sassou-Nguesso,  his  appointed  Cabinet,  and  the 
PCT  Political  Bureau.   Sassou  has  been  Chief  of  State  and  Head 
of  Government  since  1979  and  had  sought  to  coopt  and  placate 
rival  ethnic  groups  with  political  posts  or  economic 
concessions.   Nevertheless,  Northerners  from  the  Cuvette 
region  dominated  important  government  institutions,  including 
the  army  and  security  services.   The  National  Assembly  served 
primarily  to  give  advice  on  and  approve  legislation  rather 
than  initiate  it. 

The  year  witnessed  potentially  significant  steps  toward  a  more 
open  society.   In  a  series  of  announcements,  President  Sassou 
and  the  ruling  Congolese  Workers  Party  (PCT)  outlined  a 
framework  for  political  liberalization,  including  abandonment 
of  Marxist-Leninist  principles,  adoption  of  a  multiparty 
system,  and  legislation  guaranteeing  most  basic  human  rights 
and  liberties.   Popular  pressure  forced  acceleration  of  the 
reform  process,  and  during  the  latter  half  of  the  year  the 
Sassou  Government  suffered  an  erosion  of  its  traditional 
authority  and  revised  its  own  reform  timetable.   On  December 
27,  the  National  Assembly  approved  legislation  establishing  a 
multiparty  system.   It  is  unclear,  however,  whether  the 
liberalizing  trends  will  continue,  accelerate,  or  be  reversed; 
and  Congo  entered  1991  with  its  human  rights  picture  in  flux. 

For  most  of  the  year  1990,  the  State  Security  Organization 
(DGSE)  under  the  direction  of  the  Presidency  investigated  and 
neutralized  dissident  activity  that  seriously  threatened  the 
State,  the  party,  or  the  President.   PCT  "core  groups"  were  in 
all  ministries,  labor  organizations,  and  mass  organizations 
with  the  stated  goal,  not  consistently  attained,  of  monitoring 
the  activities  of  workers  and  neighbors.   By  the  end  of  the 
year,  military  forces  were  no  longer  used  for  internal 
security  purposes,  which  have  been  turned  over  to  a 
reorganized  police. 

The  economy  is  highly  dependent  on  petroleum  earnings. 
Declining  oil  prices  since  1985  have  forced  the  Government  to 
cut  budget  expenditures,  seek  debt  relief,  and  cooperate  with 
international  financial  institutions  in  formulating  a 
structural  adjustment  program.   Long  rhetorically  hostile  to 
capitalism,  the  Government  never  forbade  private  property  and 
enterprise.   In  July  1989,  the  PCT  openly  embraced  an  economic 
policy  centered  upon  private  sector  initiative,  foreign 
investment,  and  liberalization  of  markets.   Congo's  economic 
difficulties  have  been  a  major  force  behind  political  reform 
efforts . 

Despite  the  unprecedented  changes,  human  rights  in  Congo 
remained  circumscribed  in  1990.   Violations  included  arbitrary 
arrest  and  mistreatment  and  torture  of  detainees  in  criminal 
cases.   There  were  also  restrictions  on  the  freedoms  of 
speech,  press,  association,  and  assembly,  as  well  as  worker 
rights  and  the  right  to  equal  protection  for  women. 
Generally,  however,  Congo  enjoyed  a  much  more  open  atmosphere 
for  the  discussion  of  human  rights  issues  in  1990.   Tangible 
progress  came  with  the  abolition  of  restrictions  on  foreign 
travel,  the  creation  of  independent  human  rights  groups,  as 
well  as  the  cessation  of  political  arrests,  the  release  of 
detainees,  and  grant  of  amnesty  for  political  offenses. 


86 


CONGO 

RESPECT  FOR  HUMAN  RIGHTS 

Section  1  Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.  Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

The  death  of  Auxence  Ickonga  in  January  remained  a  subject  of 
speculation  throughout  1990.   Appointed  in  late  1989  to  a  post 
charged  with  investigating  government  corruption,  the  official 
cause  of  Ickonga 's  death  was  heart  failure,  but  circumstantial 
evidence  suggested  poisoning.   No  autopsy  was  allowed  by  the 
Government . 

In  October,  in  the  towns  of  Sibiti  and  Loubomo,  government 
forces  used  excessive  force  to  quell  student  demonstrations 
which  had  turned  violent,  resulting  in  the  death  of  several 
persons.   The  students  were  demonstrating  for  a  more  rapid 
move  toward  democracy  and  increased  support  for  education. 

b.  Disappearance 

There  were  no  cases  of  disappearance  for  political  motives. 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment. 

Detainees  and  suspects  are  regularly  beaten  in  the  course  of 
interrogation  at  police  stations  and  state  security  centers. 
The  practice  continues  both  because  of  official  indifference 
and  the  poor  training  of  the  police  in  the  rights  and  proper 
treatment  of  suspects.   Local  police  do  not  hesitate  to  use 
truncheons  to  control  crowds  in  public  areas,  notably  train 
stations  and  the  port  of  Brazzaville.   The  police  also 
sometimes  allow  thieves  to  be  beaten  by  the  public  when  they 
are  caught  in  the  act  of  stealing.   It  is  likely  that  in 
recent  years  torture  was  used  to  extract  information  from 
political  detainees  (who  were  normally  held  incommunicado) . 
All  political  detainees,  however,  were  freed  on  August  15,  and 
there  have  been  no  subsequent  reports  of  further  political 
detentions.   There  have  been  no  public  admissions, 
investigations,  or  trials  of  officials  for  past  abuses. 

Prison  conditions  are,  in  general,  extremely  poor.   The 
country's  three  large  prisons,  all  built  during  the  colonial 
era,  are  inadequate  to  house  humanely  Congo's  prison 
population.   Female  prisoners  have  frequently  been  sexually 
assaulted  and  in  some  cases  given  birth  in  prison.   Food  and 
proper  medical  attention  is  often  unavailable  to  inmates. 

d.  Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile  . 

In  the  past,  despite  constitutional  guarantees  to  the 
contrary,  arbitrary  arrest  and  detention  often  took  place. 
The  Code  of  Penal  Procedure  requires  that  a  detainee  be 
brought  before  a  judge  within  3  days  and  that  a  prisoner  must 
be  either  charged  or  released  within  6  months.   However, 
criminal  justice  officials  did  not  regularly  respect  this  law, 
and  authorities  were  legally  exempt  from  following  these 
procedures  in  cases  involving  "state  security. " 

Although  in  the  past,  suspects  of  political  crimes  were  often 
not  formally  charged  or  given  access  to  a  lawyer,  their  place 
of  detention  was  generally  known,  and  their  families  were 
usually,  though  not  always,  allowed  to  visit  them  in 


87 


CONGO 

detention.   Such  detainees  might  be  kept  for  any  length  of 
time  without  trial  or  formal  charge.   The  judicial  processes 
for  those  suspected  of  common  crimes  have  been  similarly 
irregular.   The  time  between  arrest  and  trial  varies 
enormously  from  a  few  weeks  to  several  years,  depending  on  the 
seriousness  of  the  case  and  the  social  station  of  the  person 
arrested.   There  is  a  system  of  bail,  but  it  also  functions 
irregularly  and  with  arbitrary  interference.   These  abuses 
occur  because  of  both  official  indifference  and  insufficient 
resources  to  employ  sufficient  judicial  personnel. 

On  August  15,  the  Government  announced  the  release  and  pardon 
of  all  political  detainees.   The  exact  number  held  at  that 
time  was  unknown,  but  various  lawyers,  jurists,  and  public 
officials  estimated  the  number  at  between  20  and  50  (a 
moderate  decrease  from  the  numbers  held  over  the  past  several 
years).   Amnesty  International  (AI)  reported  that  some  26 
dissidents  were  still  being  held  in  May  1990  after  their 
arrest  in  July  1987  for  alleged  participation  in  the  abortive 
Anga  coup,   Several  in  this  group  were  army  officers 
(including  former  President  Yhombi-Opango) ,  while  others  were 
civilians  belonging  to  rival  ethnic  groups.   The  Government 
claimed  the  number  had  been  reduced  to  14  by  the  summer,  and 
all  were  released  in  August.   In  December  the  National 
Assembly  passed  an  amnesty  for  all  offenses  against  state 
security,  including  those  who  had  not  been  formally  brought  to 
trial. 

In  July  the  Government  arrested  without  warrants  Celestine 
Nkoua  (a  former  journalist  and  bookstore  owner)  and  Clement 
Mierassa  (a  former  PCT  Central  Committee  member)  for  alleged 
conspiracy  against  the  State.   They  had  been  signatories  of  an 
"open  letter"  to  President  Sassou  calling  for  more  rapid 
political  reforms.   Neither  person  was  mistreated  in 
detention,  and  both  were  freed  on  August  15. 

The  Government  has  never  used  forced  exile  as  an  instrument  of 
political  control,  and  it  invited  voluntary  exiles  in  France 
to  return  home  in  the  wake  of  the  July  announcements  on  a 
multiparty  system. 

e.   Denial  of  a  Fair  Public  Trial 

The  Congolese  legal  system  is  primarily  based  on  the 
Napoleonic  Code  but  has  also  been  influenced  by  the  "people's 
justice"  of  the  Marxist-Leninist  tradition.   The  regular 
courts  modeled  on  the  French  judiciary  are  neither  fully 
independent  nor  a  mere  instrument  of  executive  power.   The 
Supreme  Court  is  subject  to  considerable  executive  control, 
while  the  ordinary  courts  carry  out  justice  with  only 
occasional  political  interference.   In  addition,  there  exists 
a  special  Revolutionary  Court  of  Justice  composed  of 
presidentially  selected  political  appointees  which  handles 
political  crimes.   The  Government  has,  however,  tried  no  cases 
in  this  forum  since  1986. 

Within  the  limits  of  the  system's  scarce  resources,  the 
functioning  of  the  criminal  justice  system  is  relatively  fair 
in  nonpolitical  cases.   Defendants  have  the  right  to  be 
present,  to  have  a  lawyer  at  public  expense  in  serious  cases, 
to  confront  witnesses  and  to  present  evidence,  and  they  enjoy 
the  presumption  of  innocence.   Following  French  practice, 
judges  rather  than  juries  sit  in  judgment  of  accused 
criminals.   There  is  a  right  to  appeal,  and  higher  courts 
sometimes  overturn  the  decisions  of  lower  courts.   One 


88 


CONGO 

concession  to  "popular  justice"  is  the  constitutional 
provision  that  nonprofessional  judges  may  be  elected  to  serve 
on  lower  courts,  subject  to  party  approval.   According  to  the 
law,  any  citizen  may  become  a  judge  but  may  adjudicate 
administrative  cases  only  in  collaboration  with  trained  judges. 

Congo's  traditional  courts  still  handle  many  local  disputes, 
e.g.,  property,  and  operate  in  urban  as  well  as  rural  areas. 
Many  domestic  disputes  are  also  adjudicated  in  traditional 
ways  in  the  context  of  the  extended  family. 

f.   Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 
Correspondance 

The  Government  rarely  interferes  with  the  private  lives  of 
citizens  who  are  not  suspected  of  activity  that  implies 
opposition  to  the  Government.   It  maintains,  however,  a 
surveillance  apparatus,  including  a  network  of  informers,  to 
collect  information  on  those  suspected  of  antigovernment 
activity.   In  investigating  such  activity,  the  Government  does 
not  hesitate  to  violate  rights  of  privacy  or  home  or  to 
intercept  written  correspondence  or  telephone  conversations. 

Section  2  Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including: 

a.   Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press. 

The  year  witnessed  considerably  greater  official  tolerance  of 
free  speech,  the  exercise  of  which  is  constitutionally 
guaranteed  but  which  has  been  limited  in  practice.   In  the 
past,  the  Government  had  allowed  criticism  of  policies  and 
programs  judged  not  to  be  politically  sensitive  (generally 
economic  and  international  issues) .   It  has  been  less  tolerant 
of  public  challenges  to  its  domestic  political  authority, 
allowing  ordinary  citizens  to  air  their  opinions,  but 
detaining  prominent  public  figures  for  speaking  out  publicly 
against  government  policies.   Since  summer,  however,  Congolese 
citizens  have  increasingly  tested  the  limits  of  official 
tolerance  for  political  comment. 

The  State  owns  and  operates  all  of  the  country's  general 
circulation  media  except  for  one  Catholic  newspaper.  La 
Semaine  Africaine.   Broadcasts  on  Congo's  several  radio 
stations  and  one  television  channel  endorse  government 
policies,  although  limited  coverage  of  opposing  views  is 
allowed.   Radio  and  television  have  begun  to  broadcast  more 
complete  coverage  of  domestic  developments,  including  the 
activities  of  government  opponents.   All  published  articles 
are  reviewed  by  state  censors,  who  in  the  past  rejected 
articles  critical  of  the  Government.   Journalists  have  been 
harassed  or  imprisoned  for  articles  critical  of  the  Government 
and  have  had  to  exercise  self-censorship.   Over  the  past  year, 
however,  the  range  of  acceptable  criticism  has  steadily 
broadened,  and  since  midsummer  it  has  included  an  increasing 
range  of  controversial  political  issues.   La  Semaine 
Africaine,  whose  editor  has  been  jailed  in  the  past,  has  since 
August  published  several  outspoken  issues  without  subsequent 
incident.   Mimeographed  tracts  are  a  favored  mode  for 
political  expression,  and  they  increased  in  circulation  in  the 
latter  half  of  1990;  open  distribution  of  such  tracts, 
however,  was  not  permitted. 

Western  news  clips,  especially  of  international  events,  are 
often  used  on  Congolese  television.   Foreign  newspapers, 
especially  from  France,  are  widely  available,  and  foreign 


89 


CONGO 

journalists  generally  travel  freely  if  they  procure  the  proper 
authorizations  (which  are  usually  granted).   In  the  past, 
however,  issues  of  foreign  publications  carrying  specific 
articles  critical  of  the  Government  have  been  prevented  from 
sale  (and  sometimes  withdrawn  from  the  mails),  and  foreign 
journalists  have  been  expelled  for  examining  sensitive  topics 
too  closely.   There  were  no  reported  incidents  of  this  nature 
during  the  latter  half  of  1990. 

Primary  and  secondary  education  in  Congo,  a  state  monopoly 
which  long  emphasized  the  tenets  of  "scientific  socialism", 
enjoyed  a  measured  liberalization  in  1990.   The  Government  now 
permits  private  schools  at  all  levels,  and  it  introduced 
curriculum  changes  in  state  schools,  e.g.,  in  addition  to 
Marxism,  other  political-economic  approaches  can  now  be 
seriously  studied.   Congolese  university  teachers  exercise 
academic  freedom  in  their  classrooms,  unimpeded  by  either  the 
Government  or  party  youth  organizations.   Unrest  in  Congolese 
schools  in  1990  centered  upon  employment  issues. 

b.  Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association. 

Private  associations  must  receive  official  approval  and  hold  a 
public  general  assembly  stating  their  aims  and  rules,  after 
which  they  may  meet  freely  without  permits.   Such  approvals 
have  traditionally  been  granted  unless  the  group  had  a  serious 
potential  to  embarrass  or  threaten  the  Government.   In  April 
the  Government  abruptly  canceled  the  scheduled  general 
assembly  of  a  new  human  rights  organization,  apparently 
concerned  it  might  become  a  threat,  but  then  4  months  later  it 
granted  permission  for  the  meeting  to  take  place. 
Nonrecognized  groups  may  be  harassed,  and  their  meetings 
subject  to  dispersal  at  the  whim  of  the  Government  and  police, 
but  such  intervention  became  increasingly  rare  as  the  year 
progressed. 

Nascent  political  groups  began  after  midyear  to  meet  in 
private  homes  without  permission,  and  political  parties  in 
addition  to  the  PCT  were  authorized  to  begin  activities  in 
January  1991.   There  were  no  large  public  political  gatherings 
in  1990.   The  Government  is  actively  encouraging  the  creation 
of  associations.   Many  Congolese  professional  organizations 
are  affiliated  with  international  umbrella  organizations. 

c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

Freedom  of  religion  is  guaranteed  by  law,  but  the  Government 
is  officially  atheist,  and  there  are  serious  infringements  on 
religious  rights.   Religious  groups  must  have  the  same 
official  permission  to  function  as  any  other  association. 
Under  a  1978  law  which  recognized  only  those  sects  which  were 
judged  to  exercise  a  social  function,  members  of  only  seven 
denominations  had  official  permission  to  assemble  and  worship 
publicly  in  1990:   Evangelicals  (Protestant),  Catholics,  The 
Salvation  Army,  Muslims,  Kibangouists ,  Japanese  Shinto 
Tenrikyo,  and  the  Church  of  Zepherin  Lassy.   Representatives 
of  the  first  four  form  a  religious  council  which  the 
Government  consults  as  a  body  it  regards  as  representative  of 
religious  opinion.   Religious  groups  which,  in  the 
Government's  view,  contain  tenets  that  reject  temporal 
authority,  such  as  the  Jehovah's  Witnesses,  are  specifically 
banned.   Other  groups  worship  without  official  authorization, 
though  they  have  occasionally  been  disrupted  by  local 
authorities.   A  changing  government  view  of  religious 
self-expression  was  evidenced  by  the  allocation  in  1989  of 


90 


CONGO 

National  Assembly  seats  for  religious  representatives  and  by 
the  high  visibility  of  the  symbols  of  several  religious 
groups,  including  unrecognized  organizations,  displayed  during 
the  August  1990  National  Day  parade 

The  Catholic  Church,  the  largest  single  religious  community, 
maintains  a  seminary  for  the  training  of  its  clergy  and  has 
missions  throughout  the  country.   Foreign  missionaries  from 
recognized  churches  are  allowed  to  work  in  Congo,  but  those  of 
other  faiths  are  not.   The  recognized  churches  may  maintain 
links  with  their  international  structures  and  some  do  so. 
There  is  no  evidence  that  adherence  to  any  faith,  officially 
recognized  or  not,  causes  a  disadvantage  to  the  adherent  in 
any  secular,  civil  function. 

d.   Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

The  Government  exercises  limited  control  over  the  internal 
movement  of  its  citizens  through  highway  checkpoints  outside 
the  major  towns.   Citizens  are  free  to  change  their  place  of 
work  or  residence  as  they  wish.   In  July  the  Government 
abolished  internal  travel  visas  and  eliminated  the 
requirements  that  citizens  obtain  exit  visas  to  leave  the 
country  and  surrender  their  passports  after  they  return. 
There  are  no  known  cases  of  Congolese  being  refused  the  right 
to  return  to  Congo  or  of  Congolese  being  denied  citizenship. 

Congo  hosts  several  hundred  refugees  from  Burundi,  the  Central 
African  Republic,  Chad,  and  Zaire;  and  during  1990  there  was  a 
new  influx  of  refugees  from  Rwanda  and  South  Africa. 
Political  refugees  (especially  in  the  case  of  Zairians)  are 
often  indistinguishable  from  those  foreigners  in  Congo  engaged 
in  economic  pursuits.   Refugees  are  subject  to  surveillance 
and  occasional  harassment  and  expulsion,  but  there  have  been 
no  widespread  or  systematic  forced  repatriations,  and  refugees 
are  not  generally  expelled  unless  they  break  Congolese  laws. 

Section  3  Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government. 

Under  the  1979  Constitution,  the  Congolese  people  did  not 
enjoy  the  right  to  change  their  government.   The  President  of 
the  Central  Committee  of  the  Congolese  Workers  Party  (PCT)  was 
automatically  President  of  the  Republic.   After  coming  to 
power  in  a  surprise  Central  Committee  maneuver  in  1979,  Denis 
Sassou-Nguesso  was  reelected  by  regular  party  congresses  in 
1984  and  1989.   The  President  was  the  most  powerful  single 
person  in  government,  and  his  power  was  only  somewhat  limited 
by  the  need  to  maintain  support  in  the  PCT ' s  political  bureau 
and  Central  Committee.   The  Congolese  military  has 
traditionally  been  subservient  to  the  President  and  indirectly 
to  the  party,  and  its  officers  are  integrated  into  key 
government  and  party  positions.   The  military,  however, 
remained  neutral  toward  internal  political  developments  during 
the  year,  and  members  were  forbidden  to  engage  in  political 
activities  after  January  1,  1991.   The  military  leadership  is 
drawn  largely  from  the  same  northern  ethnic  groups  as  the 
President,  but  most  of  the  rank  and  file  hail  from  the  south. 

From  1968  through  1990,  meaningful  participation  in  government 
was  possible  only  by  joining  the  PCT,  the  "supreme  social  and 
political  organization"  according  to  the  1979  Constitution. 
Despite  expansion  over  the  past  few  years,  its  membership  is 
less  than  13,000  (out  of  a  population  of  some  2  million).   A 


91 


CONGO 

relatively  small  part  of  the  PCT  made  most  major  decisions. 
In  1990  the  PCT  began  a  managed  transition  to  a  multiparty 
system.   In  July,  the  Central  Committee  advocated  expanded 
party  membership  and  multipartyism,  and  in  September  it 
announced  that  competing  political  parties  will  be  legalized 
effective  January  1991.   Over  50  new  parties  were  registered 
by  December.   The  Government  in  September  also  sought  to  meet 
the  growing  call  for  rapid  political  change  by  promising  that 
a  transition  government  headed  by  a  prime  minister  would  be 
named  and  in  place  by  January  1991  and  that  a  conference  of 
parties  to  tackle  wholesale  political  changes  will  be  held  in 
May.   In  December,  in  response  to  continuing  popular  pressure, 
the  Government  announced  that  a  national  conference  would  meet 
beginning  February  25,  1991. 

Section  4   Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

The  Government's  attitude  toward  human  rights  organizations 
moderated  considerably  in  1990.   Congo  previously  had  no 
domestic  human  rights  organizations,  but  three  such  groups 
received  association  status  in  1990.   All  have  criticized 
aspects  of  the  Goverment ' s  human  rights  practices.   The 
Congolese  Association  of  Women  Lawyers,  headed  by  a  female 
magistrate  and  law  professor,  addresses  a  wide  range  of  legal 
issues;  one  of  its  commissions  deals  with  human  rights. 

The  National  Committee  on  Human  Rights,  is  headed  by  Dr. 
Norbert  Lamini,  who  serves  as  head  of  the  Human  Rights 
Department  of  the  Congolese  National  Commission  for  UNESCO. 
Its  some  200  members  are  primarily  intellectuals  holding 
positions  in  law,  journalism,  the  legal  profession,  or  the 
middle  ranks  of  the  civil  service.   The  Committee's  declared 
goals  include  the  development  and  exchange  of  information  on 
human  rights,  the  elimination  of  all  forms  of  discrimination, 
and  the  defense  of  individual  rights  within  Congolese  society. 

The  Congolese  Human  Rights  League  was  conceived  in  July  by 
prominent  Congolese  attorney  Martin  Mberi.   It  is  pledged  to 
fight  for  women's  and  youth's  rights,  as  well  as  the  end  of 
arbitrary  detention,  torture,  and  the  death  penalty.   Mberi 
has  also  advocated  a  multiparty  system  and  independence  for 
the  judiciary  and  trade  unions,  and  he  is  considered  likely  to 
be  a  contender  for  political  office  under  the  new  system. 

The  Government  traditionally  has  been  uncooperative  when  faced 
with  human  rights  inquiries  and  hostile  to  investigations  by 
international  human  rights  organizations.   It  has  expelled 
foreign  journalists  for  investigating  human  rights  issues.   At 
year's  end,  it  remained  unclear,  the  extent  to  which  the 
Government  in  the  future  would  tolerate  vigorous  investigation 
and  criticism  of  its  own  human  rights  policies  from 
international  and  domestic  groups. 

Section  5   Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  and  Social  Status 

The  Constitution  provides  for  equal  treatment  regardless  of 
race,  sex,  religion,  language,  or  social  status,  and  most 
discrimination  in  these  areas  is  social  rather  than  official. 
However,  the  Government's  degree  of  tolerance  or  intolerance 
of  various  social  practices  that  may  violate  human  rights 
varies  greatly. 


92 


CONGO 

Northerners  exert  disproportionate  influence  in  politics  and 
the  security  forces.   The  only  other  important  ethnic 
distinctions  are  between  Congo's  various  Bantu  peoples  and  the 
northern  Pygmies  who  number  about  7,000,  or  less  than  1 
percent  of  the  population.   Bantu  villagers  occasionally 
harass  the  Pygmies.   Government  policy  calls  for  their 
integration  into  the  economy  and  society,  and  a  roundtable  on 
the  problem  was  held  in  Brazzaville  in  April.   Knowledge  of 
French,  the  official  language,  is  essential  for  social  and 
political  advancement,  but  none  of  Congo's  various  language 
groups  are  otherwise  specifically  favored  or  disfavored. 

Women  have  the  same  legal  rights  as  men  in  commerce,  politics, 
and  society,  and  they  are  often  the  chief  decisionmakers  among 
some  ethnic  groups.   A  few  women  have  attained  high  official 
status  in  the  country.   There  is,  however,  a  large  disparity 
between  the  salaries  of  men  and  women,  and  women  are  often 
relegated  to  a  secondary  role  both  in  the  modern  sectors  of 
society  and  in  rural  areas.   Polygamy  is  legal  and  widely 
practiced.   The  husband,  father,  or  other  male  head  of  family 
has  considerable  legal  or  actual  control  over  the  activities 
of  female  family  members,  though  this  control  is  often 
moderated  by  the  influence  of  the  extended  family. 

Anecdotal  evidence  suggests  that  violence  against  women  is  not 
widespread  in  Congo,  but  there  are  no  studies  or  statistics 
available.   Abortion  at  state  hospitals  is  illegal,  though 
many  exceptions  are  granted.   Family  violence  against  women  is 
generally  handled  in  the  context  of  the  extended  family  rather 
than  in  the  formal  judicial  system.   Female  circumcision  is 
not  practiced  among  the  Congolese  but  can  be  found  among  West 
Africans  resident  in  Brazzaville  or  Pointe  Noire.   The 
Government  is  ahead  of  societal  norms  in  its  advocacy  of 
women's  rights,  but  it  has  not  addressed  the  issue  of  violence 
against  women.   The  PCT  women's  organization  has  a  role  in 
educating  the  public  on  women's  rights,  and  the  new  human 
rights  organizations  have  women's  sections. 

Section  6  Worker  Rights 

a.   The  Right  of  Association 

The  status  of  worker  rights  was  in  radical  transition  during 
1990  as  the  Congolese  Trade  Union  Confederation  (CSC)  became 
one  of  the  main  focal  points  of  political  change  in  Congo. 
The  Labor  Code  adopted  in  1975  affirms  the  right  of  workers  to 
associate.   In  practice,  however,  Congolese  labor  unions  have 
been  grouped  together  under  the  umbrella  of  the  CSC,  an 
official  state  institution  under  party  control  and  outside  of 
which  no  independent  unions  were  permitted. 

The  CSC  has  had  a  legal  right  to  strike  but  never  exercised  it 
until  July.   Wildcat  strikes  have  always  occurred  with 
relative  impunity.   In  1990  the  CSC  spearheaded  the  drive  for 
political  reform  outside  the  PCT  framework  and  used  strike 
actioin  for  this  purpose.   In  July  the  ruling  PCT  forced  the 
CSC  to  reimpose  authority  over  the  Post  and  Telecommunications 
Workers'  Union  (FESPOSTEL)  which  had  decided  to  withdraw  from 
the  CSC  the  previous  day.   The  party  later  postponed  the 
imminent  scheduled  meeting  of  the  CSC  congress  to  September. 
During  the  September  meeting,  the  possibility  that  the  CSC 
would  vote  resolutions  calling  for  secret  ballots  in  union 
elections,  independence  from  PCT  control,  multiple  parties, 
and  a  national  convention  to  discuss  political  reform  led  the 
PCT  Political  Bureau  peremptorily  to  dismiss  the  congress. 


93 


CONGO 

The  CSC  subsequently  called  a  successful  3-day  general  strike 
forcing  the  party  to  reconvene  the  congress  which  then  elected 
its  leaders  by  secret  ballot  and  passed  all  the  feared 
resolutions.   Subsequently,  the  CSC  led  a  series  of  strikes 
aimed  ostensibly  to  secure  economic  gains  for  its  members,  but 
which  in  practice  were  significant  in  undermining  the 
authority  of  the  Government.   Strikes  in  Brazzaville  and 
Pointe  Noire  practically  paralyzed  the  Government  in  the  fall. 

In  1990  the  CSC  remained  affiliated  with  the  Communist- 
controlled  World  Federation  of  Trade  Unions  (WFTU)  and  the 
Organization  of  African  Trade  Union  Unity. 

b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

At  its  July  meeting  the  PCT  Central  Committee  abolished  the 
"determinant  trilogy,"  which  placed  representatives  of  the 
CSC,  party,  and  government  on  the  management  boards  of  all 
ministries  and  state-owned  enterprises  and  served  as  Congo's 
form  of  collective  bargaining.   The  National  Assembly  repealed 
the  appropriate  legislation  in  December.   Henceforward,  the 
workers'  interests  will  be  furthered  by  the  unions  alone.   The 
CSC  has  in  the  past  bargained  with  other  state  institutions  on 
behalf  of  the  workers  but  without  their  participation.   CSC 
unions  have  sometimes  persuaded  the  Government  to  grant 
workers  increased  wages  or  benefits.   There  are  no  export 
processing  zones,  and  Congolese  labor  law  and  practice  are 
uniform  throughout  the  country. 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

There  were  no  reports  of  forced  or  compulsory  labor  which  is 
legally  prohibited. 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

The  minimum  age  for  employment  is  18  years  (17  for 
apprentices) .   Enforcment  of  child  labor  laws  is  vested  in  the 
Ministry  of  Labor  with  respect  to  government  enterprises  and 
other  major  employers,  but  there  is  little  enforcement  outside 
the  modern  wage  sector,  especially  in  small  family  enterprises 
or  family  farms  in  the  large  subsistence  agricultural  sector. 

e.  Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

The  legal  minimum  monthly  wage  is  $100  for  all  urban  workers 
except  domestics,  for  whom  the  monthly  wage  is  $86.  Outside 
the  Government,  large  corporations,  and  foreign  enterprises, 
these  minimums  are  often  ignored.   The  minimum  wage  does  not 
provide  a  decent  standard  of  living  for  a  worker  and  his 
family.   Minimum  wage  earners  and  many  others  in  the  informal 
sector  are  dependent  upon  the  extended  family  (including  other 
salaried  family  members),  and  some  subsistence  farming  (in 
which  most  of  the  rural  population  is  still  engaged) .   The 
Labor  Code  mandates  working  conditions  which  include  a  40-hour 
workweek  (some  job  categories  excepted),  at  least  1  day  of 
rest  per  week,  family  and  medical  benefits,  and  severance 
pay.   In  practice,  exceptions  are  made  (for  example,  paying 
the  regular  wage  for  overtime  in  certain  categories  of  private 
sector  nonindustrial  employment).   There  is  a  code  of 
occupational  safety  and  health,  although  it,  too,  is  not 
rigorously  enforced. 


94 


COTE  D'lVOIRE 


Power  in  Cote  D'lvoire  is  concentrated  in  the  Democratic  Party 
of  Cote  D'lvoire  (PDCI)  and  its  long-time,  octogenarian  leader 
President  Felix  Houphouet-Boigny .   Widespread  student  unrest, 
a  brief  military  mutiny,  and  strikes  by  the  police  and  other 
major  service  sectors,  all  of  which  broke  out  in  response  to  a 
government-proposed  austerity  program,  helped  fuel  public 
demands  for  a  multiparty  system.   Although  the  freedom  to  form 
other  political  parties  is  provided  for  in  the  Constitution, 
until  the  announcement  of  the  return  to  a  multiparty  state 
April  30,  no  other  party  has  been  allowed  to  participate  in 
the  political  process.   Since  April  30,  some  26  opposition 
parties  have  formed.   On  October  28  Houphouet,  running  against 
the  leader  of  Cote  d'lvoire's  strongest  opposition  party,  was 
returned  to  office  by  a  large  majority.   Elections  for  the 
unicameral  National  Assembly,  which  to  date  has  never 
challenged  a  policy  put  forth  by  the  party,  were  held  on 
November  25.   The  PDCI  retained  163  of  175  seats,  assuring 
that  basic  policies  will  continue  to  be  set  by  the  PDCI  in  the 
immediate  future. 

The  Ministry  of  Internal  Security  includes  the  Surete 
Nationale  and  the  Gendarmerie  (the  national  police), 
structured  along  French  lines.   The  Surete  has  a  section 
tasked  with  intelligence  gathering  and  counterespionage 
responsibilities.   The  Gendarmerie  is  responsible  for 
territorial  security,  especially  in  rural  areas.   There  have 
been  reports  of  the  Gendarmerie  using  excessive  force  in 
dealing  with  African  alien  residents. 

During  the  1980 's.  Cote  D'lvoire  was  squeezed  by  a  heavy  debt 
burden  and  falling  prices  for  its  exports,  principally  coffee, 
cocoa,  and  tropical  woods.   Per  capita  income  slipped  in 
recent  years  from  well  over  $1,000  to  $680.   In  1990  the 
economy  continued  to  decline,  and  the  financial  situation 
remained  critical.   The  attempted  implementation  of  salary 
cuts  within  the  framework  of  the  1989  International  Monetary 
Fund  and  World  Bank  financial  agreement  led  to  widespread 
civil  unrest  in  early  1990,  causing  the  Government  to  withdraw 
the  wage  reduction  package  and  to  present  a  revised 
IMF-approved  plan  for  economic  reform. 

There  were  some  improvements  in  human  rights  in  1990;  citizens 
of  Cote  d'lvoire  participated  in  multiparty  elections  for 
president,  parliament,  and  municipalities.   However,  human 
rights  remained  circumscribed.   While  there  was  no  recurrence 
of  the  1988  detentions  and  conscriptions,  the  stifling  effect 
on  critics,  including  students,  teachers,  and  trade  unionists, 
still  lingers.   A  businessman  widely  believed  to  have  been 
convicted  on  fabricated  charges  because  of  his  connection  with 
a  well-known  dissident  remained  in  prison.   Other  areas  where 
human  rights  were  limited  included  the  .right  of  fair  trial, 
freedom  of  speech  and  press,  academic  freedom,  freedom  of 
assembly  and  association,  women's  rights,  and  worker  rights. 

RESPECT  FOR  HUMAN  RIGHTS 

Section  1  Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.   Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

There  were  no  reports  of  political  or  extrajudicial  killings. 


95 


COTE  D' IVOIRE 

b.  Disappearance 

There  were  no  reports  of  officially  sanctioned  abduction  or 
disappearance . 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment 

While  the  penal  code  prohibits  official  violence  without 
"legitimate  justification,"  it  does  not  specifically  mention 
or  prohibit  torture  or  define  the  level  of  violence  officials 
may  use  in  dealing  with  detainees  or  prisoners.   Non-Ivorian 
Africans  residing  in  Cote  d'lvoire  are  routinely  treated  more 
roughly  by  police  on  arrest  than  are  Ivorians.   One  credible 
eyewitness  reported  seeing  policemen  beat  a  non-Ivorian 
prisoner  to  extract  a  confession  and  branded  the  sole  of  his 
foot  to  hinder  escape.   There  were  no  instances  in  1990  of 
officials  being  punished  for  such  abuses,  and  the  Government 
denies  that  they  occur . 

d.  Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

The  Constitution  and  pertinent  statutes  prohibit  arbitrary 
arrest  or  imprisonment.   The  Government  has  occasionally 
detained  persons  it  deemed  a  threat  to  internal  security,  but 
no  instances  were  reported  in  1990.   In  the  past,  the 
Government  had  also  used  the  threat  of  forced  conscription  to 
discourage  peaceful  student  and  trade  union  efforts  to  oppose 
the  Government  or  its  policies,  but  again  no  instances  were 
reported  in  1990. 

Under  the  Code  of  Penal  Procedure,  a  public  prosecutor  can 
order  the  detention  of  a  suspect  for  up  to  48  hours  without 
bringing  charges.   The  Code  dictates  that  longer  detention 
must  be  ordered  by  a  magistrate,  who  can  authorize  periods  of 
up  to  4  months,  but  who  must  also  provide  the  Minister  of 
Justice,  on  a  monthly  basis,  a  written  justification  for 
continued  detention.   There  have  been  some  reports  that  local 
police  have  held  persons  for  more  than  48  hours  without 
bringing  charges.   Defendants  are  not  guaranteed  the  right  to 
a  judicial  determination  of  the  legality  of  their  detention. 
The  Government  has  been  known  to  convict  critics  on  trumped  up 
criminal  charges,  so  as  to  avoid  being  accused  of  holding 
political  detainees. 

Until  this  year  some  prominent  critics  of  the  Government  had 
chosen  to  live  and  work  abroad,  but  since  April  30,  many  of 
those  with  serious  political  aims  have  returned  (see  Section 
2.a.).   Political  exiles  from  a  number  of  countries  have  found 
Cote  D'lvoire  a  hospitable  safe  haven,  as  long  as  they  do  not 
engage  in  political  activities  directed  against  their  home 
governments . 

e.  Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

The  modern  judicial  system  is  headed  by  a  Supreme  Court  and 
includes  a  Court  of  Appeals  and  lower  courts.   Although  the 
judiciary  is  generally  considered  independent  of  the  executive 
in  ordinary  criminal  cases,  in  practice  as  well  as  under  the 
Constitution's  separation  of  powers  provisions,  the  judiciary 
follows  the  lead  of  the  executive  in  cases  concerning 
perceived  national  security  issues.   There  have  also  been 
credible  reports  that  the  courts  have  given  lenient  treatment 
to  persons  with  personal  connections  to  the  Government.   One 
businessman.  Innocent  Anaky,  is  widely  believed  to  have  been 


96 


COTE  D' IVOIRE 

convicted  on  trumped  up  charges  of  financial  impropriety 
because  of  his  connections  to  prominent  dissident  Laurent 
Gbagbo .   Anaky  is  currently  serving  a  lengthy  prison  sentence. 

Ivorian  law  establishes  the  right  to  a  fair  public  trial,  and 
this  provision  is  generally  respected  in  urban  areas. 
Defendants  have  the  right  to  be  present  at  their  trials,  and 
their  innocence  is  presumed.   Those  convicted  have  the  right 
of  appeal,  though  in  practice  verdicts  are  rarely  overturned. 
Defendants  accused  of  felonies  or  capital  crimes  have  the 
right  to  legal  counsel,  and  the  judicial  system  provides  for 
court-appointed  attorneys  for  indigent  defendants.   In 
practice,  many  defendants  cannot  afford  private  counsel,  and 
court-appointed  attorneys  are  not  readily  available. 

In  rural  areas,  justice  is  often  administered  at  the  village 
level  through  traditional  institutions  which  handle  domestic 
disputes,  minor  land  questions,  and  family  law.   Dispute 
resolution  is  by  extended  debate,  with  no  known  instances  of 
resort  to  physical  or  similar  punishment.   These  traditional 
courts  are  increasingly  superseded  by  the  formal  judicial 
system.   Civilians  are  not  tried  by  military  courts.   Although 
there  are  no  appellate  courts  within  the  military  justice 
system,  persons  convicted  by  a  military  tribunal  can  petition 
the  Supreme  Court  to  set  aside  the  tribunal's  verdict  and 
order  a  retrial. 

The  number  of  political  prisoners  is  unknown  but  is  believed 
to  be  small.   President  Houphouet  claimed  publicly  in 
September  that  there  are  none. 

f.   Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 
Correspondence 

Since  April  30,  Ivorians  are  no  longer  automatically 
considered  members  of  the  PDCI .   Those  who  remain  members  are 
technically  subject  to  party  regulations,  which  call  for 
active  participation  in  party  activities  and  payment  of  dues, 
which  are  collected  in  most  cases  through  deductions  from  pay 
checks.   In  general,  most  party  regulations  are  not  strictly 
enforced,  and  party  members  who  choose  not  to  participate  do 
not  suffer  retaliation.   However,  two  classes  of  persons 
reported  receiving  threats  to  compel  adherence  to  party 
regulations.   Journalists  reported  being  told  that  they  must 
support  the  party  line  if  they  wish  to  continue  working.   In 
addition,  employees  of  state-owned  corporations  said  they  were 
subjected  to  pressure  to  affirm  loyalty  to  the  PDCI.   One  such 
employee  insisted  that  those  applying  for  unemployment 
benefits  must  affirm  loyalty  in  order  to  receive  benefits. 

The  Code  of  Penal  Procedure  specifies  that  a  police  official 
or  investigative  magistrate  may  conduct  searches  of  homes 
without  a  judicial  warrant  if  there  is  reason  to  believe  there 
is  evidence  on  the  premises  concerning  a  crime.   The  official 
must  have  the  prosecutor's  agreement  to  retain  any  objects 
seized  in  the  search  and  is  required  to  have  witnesses  to  the 
search,  which  may  not  take  place  between  the  hours  of  9  p.m. 
and  4  a.m.   Legal  safeguards  against  arbitrary  searches  are 
generally  respected,  although  there  have  been  reports  of 
police  entering  homes  of  foreign  Africans  (or  rounding  them  up 
on  the  streets),  taking  them  to  the  local  police  station,  and 
extorting  small  amounts  of  money  for  alleged  minor  offenses. 

There  were  also  reports,  difficult  to  substantiate,  of  police 
complicity  in  armed  robberies.   Private  telephone 


97 


COTE  D' IVOIRE 

conversations  are  believed  to  be  monitored  to  some  degree, 
although  the  extent  of  such  monitoring  is  unknown.   There  is 
no  evidence  that  private  correspondence  is  monitored. 

Section  2  Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including: 

a.   Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

Free  expression  is  provided  for  in  the  Constitution  but 
significantly  limited  in  practice.   The  media  engage  in 
self-censorship.   Public  criticism  of  basic  government 
policies,  the  party,  or  the  President,  rarely  occurs.   Critics 
of  the  Government  express  themselves  in  informal  situations 
without  fear  of  reprisal.   Government  policy  assigns  the  media 
a  positive  role  in  promoting  national  unity  and  development, 
allowing  criticism  of  failures  to  execute  policy  but  not 
criticism  of  the  policies  themselves.   Investigative 
journalism  is  not  permitted  with  respect  to  the  Government  and 
its  policies.   The  Government  operates  radio,  television,  and 
a  wire  service,  which  devote  most  of  their  coverage  to  the 
PDCI .   Expanded  reporting  of  opposition  party  activities  did 
take  place.   The  two  daily  newspapers,  the  semiofficial 
Fraternite  Matin  and  Ivoire  Soir,  are  printed  at  facilities 
owned  by  the  PDCI.   Some  minor  political  parties  have  their 
own  newspapers,  and  several  periodic  pamphlets  are  published 
privately. 

Although  foreign  publications  circulate  freely,  in  March  an 
issue  of  a  French  weekly  magazine  was  confiscated  before  it 
could  be  distributed  because  it  contained  a  story  on  alleged 
corruption  by  the  President  and  some  of  his  ministers.   Three 
foreign  journalists  were  briefly  detained  as  they  attempted  to 
cover  student  demonstrations. 

The  newspaper  of  one  political  party  had  great  difficulties 
when  the  printing  company — in  which  the  PDCI  held  majority 
ownership — refused  to  print  the  first  week's  issue.   When  the 
opposition  party  called  for  a  march  on  the  printer's 
headquarters,  the  Government  responded  by  deploying  troops  to 
block  the  proposed  route.   Eventually  an  agreement  was 
reached,  and  the  paper  was  finally  printed.   The  Beninese 
owner  of  another  privately  owned  printing  company  was  told  he 
would  have  to  stop  printing  another  opposition  party's  paper, 
or  face  expulsion  from  the  Cote  D' Ivoire.   Nevertheless,  there 
are  now  three  opposition  papers  in  circulation. 

Opposition  frustration  over  insufficient  access  to  the 
state-run  media  erupted  in  a  demonstration  by  supporters  of 
the  Popular  Front  (FPI),  Cote  d' Ivoire 's  strongest  opposition 
party,  on  October  14.   A  PDCI  leader  publicly  responded  that 
the  media  were  not  recpjired  to  cover  opposition  politics, 
except  during  the  period  of  the  official  election  campaign 
(October  18-28) . 

Academic  freedom  is  also  restricted.   A  university  professor, 
Pascal  Kokora,  was  fired  from  his  job  in  January  1988  after 
having  his  linguistics  class  compare  Ivorian  and  foreign  news 
reports  of  the  trial  of  former  secondary  schoolteachers'  union 
officials.   As  no  alternative  work  was  available  to  him,  he 
left  the  country  after  several  months.   This  report  last  year 
erroneously  indicated  that  Kokora  returned  in  September  1988 
and  was  given  back  his  job;  in  fact,  he  was  not  reinstated  and 
once  again  left  the  country.   In  1990  he  was  again  offered  his 
job,  but  he  had  not  returned  by  year's  end.   Laurent  Gbagbo, 
generally  considered  Cote  D' Ivoire 's  leading  dissident,  lived 


98 


COTE  D ' IVOIRE 

in  voluntary  exile  in  France  from  1983  to  1988,  when  he 
returned  and  was  given  a  position  at  the  university.   Gbagbo 
is  now  the  leader  of  the  best  known  opposition  party,  no 
longer  suffers  restrictions  on  his  movement  and  work,  ran 
against  President  Houphouet  Boigny  in  the  October  1990 
presidential  elections,  and  won  a  seat  in  the  National 
Assembly  in  the  legislative  elections. 

b.  Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  atid  Association 

Freedom  of  assembly  is  guaranteed  by  the  Constitution  but  in 
practice  is  restricted  when  the  Government  perceives  a 
significant  and  immediate  danger  to  public  order,  which  can 
include  the  expression  of  unwelcome  political  views.   Although 
opposition  parties  believe  that  the  Constitution  permits 
private  associations  of  any  sort,  the  Government  disagrees, 
and  all  organizations  must  register  before  commencing 
activities.   Registration  is  sometimes  denied,  and  this  device 
has  prevented  the  formation  of  some  political  parties, 
although  26  were  registered  by  the  end  of  the  year.   Permits 
required  for  public  meetings  are  sometimes  denied  to  the 
opposition,  but  never  to  the  PDCI .   Gatherings  occasionally 
are  canceled  to  prevent  the  expression  of  controversial  views 
in  public  forums. 

Police  used  truncheons  and  tear  gas  to  disperse  a  peaceful 
demonstration  in  support  of  democracy  organized  by  four 
leading  political  parties  on  August  31  and  then  again  on 
September  6.   Approximately  25  people  were  injured,  and  11 
were  arrested.   Peaceful  demonstrations  and  political  meetings 
took  place  without  hindrance  during  the  officially  prescribed 
campaign  period  immediately  preceding  the  elections. 

Only  nonpolitical  gatherings  are  permitted  on  campus. 
Large-scale  student  protests  and  walkouts  in  the  first  months 
of  1990  fueled  public  demands  for  change  to  a  multiparty 
system.   The  police  used  forceful  methods — resulting  in  the 
death  of  one  high  school  student — in  putting  down  the 
demonstrations.   The  authorities  did  not,  however,  take 
further  punitive  action  against  the  students.   Although  there 
were  numerous  arrests,  all  students  participating  in  the 
February-March  demonstrations  were  ultimately  pardoned.   The 
Government  canceled  the  1989-1990  school  year  and  compressed 
it  into  3  intensive  months,  beginning  in  September. 

Student  dissatisfaction  continued  in  the  new  academic  year. 
In  response  to  a  violent  but  short-lived  demonstration  at  the 
National  University  on  September  24,  the  Minister  of  Education 
expelled  60  students  (thereby  effectively  ending  their  higher 
education)  and  arrested  48. 

c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

There  are  no  known  impediments  to  religious  expression.   There 
is  no  dominant  religion,  and  no  faith  is  officially  favored  by 
the  Government.   The  open  practice  of  religion  is  permitted, 
and  there  are  no  restrictions  on  religious  ceremonies  or 
teaching. 

d.  Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

The  Government  exercises  minimal  control  over  domestic  travel 
and  has  reduced  the  number  of  internal  roadblocks  to  18. 


99 


COTE  D'lVOIRE 

Persons  stopped  at  such  roadblocks  are  frequently  harassed  and 
"fined"  for  one  minor  infraction  or  another. 

Although  Professor  Kokora  initially  had  some  problems 
obtaining  a  passport,  Ivorians  normally  can  travel  abroad  and 
emigrate  freely.   Ivorians  have  the  right  of  voluntary 
repatriation.   There  are  no  known  cases  of  revocation  of 
citizenship. 

Cote  D'lvoire's  refugee  and  asylum  practices  are  liberal.   The 
country  has  resettled  or  granted  safe  haven  to  many  refugees 
from  many  different  countries.   In  1990  more  than  230,000 
refugees  from  the  Liberian  civil  war  entered  the  country. 
While  in  Cote  D'lvoire,  refugees  receive  1-year,  renewable 
resident  visas  for  their  first  5  years  in  the  country,  after 
which  they  may  apply  for  permanent  residence.   Prior  to  1990 's 
influx  of  Liberian  refugees,  the  Cote  D'lvoire  did  not  take 
any  significant  responsibility  for  the  economic  and  social 
welfare  of  refugees,  who  were  the  concern  of  private  and 
international  organizations.   The  Government  is  actively 
involved  in  managing  Liberian  refugee  relief,  even  though  most 
resources  come  primarily  from  foreign  and  international  donors. 

Section  3   Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

President  Houphouet  and  the  PDCI  were  returned  to  power  in 
1990  in  the  first  multiparty  presidential  and  legislative 
elections  since  independence.   Although  proceedings  were 
marred  by  some  irregularities  and  cases  of  bad  faith,  the 
consensus  among  informed  observers  was  that  these  did  not 
significantly  affect  the  overall  outcome. 

Before  the  presidential  elections,  for  example,  the  National 
Assembly  effectively  restricted  the  number  of  candidates  by 
imposing  the  stringent  requirement  that  each  candidate  must 
pay  a  large  (approximately  $80,000)  deposit  refundable  only  if 
the  candidate  receives  more  than  10  percent  of  the  vote  in  the 
first  round  of  balloting.   Opposition  parties  charged  that 
there  had  been  inadequate  time  to  prepare  for  the  October  28 
elections,  onerous  restrictions  on  holding  meetings  and 
demonstrations,  and  unequal  access  to  the  media.   There  were 
numerous  assertions  by  opposition  parties  of  ballot  box 
stuffing,  procedural  irregularities,  and  fictitious,  or 
late-designated,  polling  places.   The  consensus,  however,  is 
that  the  incidents  occurred  in  a  small  number  of  stations. 

Within  the  PDCI,  the  President  wields  power  through  a 
13-member  Executive  Committee,  a  57-member  Political  Bureau, 
and  a  208-member  Steering  Committee.   On  November  7,  the 
President  appointed  a  Prime  Minister  in  whose  hands  are 
explicitly  concentrated  economic  powers  and  who  implicitly 
will  decide  most  day-to-day  government  affairs,  in 
consultation  with  Houphouet,  who  retains  the  power  to  appoint 
and  dismiss  the  Prime  Minister.   On  November  30,  the  Prime 
Minister  formed  his  new  Government,  excluding  the  majority  of 
the  old  guard  and  bringing  in  new  blood.   The  175-seat 
National  Assembly  confirms  and  ratifies  legislative 
initiatives  received  from  the  President.   When  operating 
within  the  former  one-party  system,  the  Government  tried  to 
increase  popular  support  by  expanding  the  size  of  party 
institutions  and  by  permitting  more  party  members  to  compete 
in  legislative,  municipal,  and  local  party  elections. 


100 


COTE  D' IVOIRE 

Section  4  Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

The  Government  is  not  a  party  to  international  human  rights 
accords  but  has  been  cooperative  in  the  past  towards 
international  inquiries  into  its  human  rights  practices.   It 
did  not  respond  publicly  to  Amnesty  International's  appeals  in 
1988  on  behalf  of  the  secondary  schoolteachers'  union,  and  it 
is  thus  not  known  what  impact,  if  any,  these  appeals  may  have 
had  on  the  Government's  subsequent  positive  action. 

An  internal,  independent  human  rights  organization,  the 
Ivorian  League  of  Human  Rights  (LIDHO)  formed  in  1987, 
previously  prevented  by  the  Government  from  functioning,  was 
recognized  by  the  Government  in  1990  and  held  its  first 
congress  in  July.   The  group  began  actively  investigating 
alleged  violations  of  human  rights  and  issuing  press  releases 
and  reports,  some  of  which  were  critical  of  the  Government. 
It  has  not  been  impeded  by  the  Government. 

Section  5  Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

There  is  no  overt,  official  discrimination  based  on  race,  sex, 
religion,  language,  or  social  status.   Although  French  is  the 
official  language  and  the  language  of  instruction  in  the 
schools,  radio  and  television  programs  are  broadcast  in  major 
local  languages.   Social  and  economic  mobility  are  not  limited 
by  policy  or  custom  on  the  basis  of  ethnicity  or  religion,  but 
there  are  pronounced  inequalities  based  on  sex,  with  males 
clearly  playing  the  preponderant  role  overall. 

While  some  Ivorian  traditional  societies  accord  women 
considerable  political  and  economic  power,  in  rural  areas 
tribal  customs  dictate  that  menial  tasks  are  performed  mostly 
by  women,  although  farm  work  by  men  is  also  common.   PDCI 
policy  is  to  encourage  full  participation  by  women  in  social 
and  economic  life,  but  there  is  considerable  informal 
resistance  among  employers  to  hiring  women,  who  may  be 
considered  "undependable"  by  virtue  of  potential  pregnancy. 

Female  genital  mutilation  (i.e.,  clitorectomy)  is  widely 
practiced  in  Cote  D'lvoire,  particularly  among  the  rural 
Muslim  population  in  the  north  and  west.   The  operation,  which 
usually  takes  place  at  puberty  as  one  part  of  a  rite  of 
passage,  is  generally  performed  outside  modern  medical 
facilities  and  can  be  extremely  painful  and  dangerous  to 
health.   Clitoral  excision  is  illegal  in  Cote  D'lvoire,  but 
the  Government  does  not  make  strong  efforts  to  prevent  the 
practice,  and  social  pressures  are  sufficiently  strong  that  it 
persists,  particularly  in  small  villages  where  the  tribal 
chief  is  the  primary  decisionmaker.   Excision  is  becoming  less 
common  as  the  population  becomes  better  educated. 

Violence  against  women,  especially  wife  beating,  is  neither 
widely  practiced  nor  tacitly  condoned.   However, 
representatives  of  womens '  organizations  state  that  wife 
beating  does  occur,  often  leading  to  divorce.   Doctors  state 
that  they  rarely  see  the  victims  of  domestic  violence.   A 
severe  social  stigma  is  attached  to  domestic  violence  of  any 
kind;  neighbors  will  often  intervene  in  a  domestic  quarrel  to 
protect  a  person  who  is  the  object  of  physical  abuse.   The 
courts  and  police  view  domestic  violence  as  a  family  problem 
unless  serious  bodily  harm  is  inflicted,  in  which  case 


101 


COTE  D ' IVOIRE 

criminal  proceedings  do  take  place.   The  Government  has  no 
clear-cut  policy  regarding  wife  beating  beyond  the  obvious 
strictures  against  violence  in  the  civil  code. 
Section  6  Worker  Rights 

a.  The  Right  of  Association 

Workers  have  the  right  to  form  unions  under  the  Labor  Code  of 
1964,  but  for  almost  30  years  the  government-sponsored  labor 
confederation,  the  General  Union  of  Cote  D'lvoire  Workers 
(UGTCI) ,  has  encompassed  almost  all  union  activity.   Only  the 
university  teachers'  union  (SYNARES),  the  secondary  school 
teachers'  union,  and  the  doctors'  union  are  independent  of  the 
confederation.   SYNARES  members  founded  four  of  the  new 
opposition  political  parties. 

The  leader  of  the  UGTCI  occupies  a  senior  position  in  the 
party  hierarchy.   Union  membership  is  encouraged  but  not 
mandatory.   The  UGTCI  is  a  relatively  passive  coordination 
mechanism  rather  than  an  active  force  for  worker  rights, 
although  it  has  had  some  success  improving  working  conditions 
and  safety  standards.   The  UGTCI  represents  approximately 
one-third  to  one-half  of  the  organizable  work  force 

The  right  to  strike  is  protected  in  the  Constitution  and  by 
statute,  but  in  practice  strikes  are  rarely  authorized  by  the 
UGTCI.   The  Constitution  requires  a  protracted  series  of 
negotiations  and  a  6-day  notification  period  before  a  legal 
strike  can  be  held,  effectively  making  strikes  difficult  to 
organize.   In  1990  there  were  widespread  illegal  strikes  by 
the  military  and  police,  firefighters,  teachers,  and  doctors. 
Although  the  Government  ended  the  strikes,  sometimes  using 
force,  the  majority  of  the  strikers'  demands  were  met. 
Generally,  the  Government  negotiates  with  strikers  and 
resolves  at  least  some  of  their  economic  grievances.   In  the 
1987-88  dispute  with  the  secondary  schoolteachers,  the 
Government  used  a  variety  of  powers  to  coerce  the  teachers 
back  to  their  jobs.   This  included  arrest  and  detention  of  20 
of  them  and  conscription  of  several  men  into  military 
service.   In  1990  teachers  and  doctors  found  themselves 
ordered  back  to  work  after  wildcat  strikes. 

The  UGTCI,  which  is  a  member  of  the  Organization  of  African 
Trade  Union  Unity,  formally  prohibits  its  individual  trade 
unions  from  forming  or  maintaining  affiliations  with  other 
international  professional  organizations  in  their  fields. 

b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

The  Labor  Code  grants  all  Ivorians  the  right  to  join  unions 
and  prohibits  antiunion  discrimination.   In  theory,  collective 
bargaining  is  protected  by  the  labor  code.   In  practice, 
however,  only  the  UGTCI  is  allowed  to  engage  in  collective 
bargaining  with  individual  companies.   The  UGTCI  has 
representatives  in  every  major  business  enterprise,  and  the 
UGTCI  secretariat  often  plays  a  mediation  or  conciliation  role 
in  relations  between  labor  and  management  in  individual 
businesses.   There  are  no  export  processing  zones  in  Cote 
D'lvoire,  although  there  is  some  discussion  about  creating 
such  zones  in  the  future.   Labor  legislation,  to  the  extent  it 
is  applied,  is  the  same  throughout  the  country. 


102 


COTE  D ' IVOIRE 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

There  have  been  no  reports  of  forced  labor  in  Cote  D'lvoire, 
and  this  practice  is  prohibited  by  law.   The  Committee  of 
Experts  of  the  International  Labor  Organization  (ILO)  again  in 
1990  reviewed  the  Government's  practice  of  hiring  out  prison 
labor  to  private  firms  and  expressed  the  hope  that  the 
Government  would  take  the  necessary  measures  to  ensure  that 
all  such  work  is  carried  out  in  a  free  work  relationship  in 
conformity  with  the  ILO  Convention  29  on  forced  labor. 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

In  most  instances,  the  legal  working  minimum  age  of  16  is 
enforced  among  government  employees  and  among  large 
multinational  companies.   However,  children  often  work  on 
family  farms,  and  in  Abidjan  some  children  routinely  act  as 
vendors  of  consumer  goods  in  the  informal  sector .   There  are 
also  reports  of  children  working  in  what  could  be  described  as 
sweatshop  conditions  in  small  workshops.   Many  children  leave 
the  formal  school  system  at  an  early  age;  lower  grade 
education  is  mandatory  but  far  from  universally  enforced, 
particularly  in  the  rural  areas. 

e.  Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

Through  the  Ministry  of  Labor,  the  Government  enforces  a 
comprehensive  labor  code  governing  the  terms  and  conditions  of 
service  for  wage  earners  and  salaried  workers  and  providing 
for  occupational  safety  and  health  standards.   Those  employed 
in  the  modern  sector  are  reasonably  protected  against  unjust 
compensation,  excessive  hours,  and  capricious  discharge  from 
employment.   The  standard  workweek  is  44  hours.   Minimum  wages 
vary  according  to  occupation,  with  the  lowest  being 
approximately  $110  per  month.   This  does  not  provide  a  decent 
standard  of  living  for  a  worker  and  his  family.   Government 
medical  insurance  and  retirement  programs  provide  an  element 
of  income  security  for  salaried  employees  in  the  modern 
sector,  although  the  quality  of  the  health  delivery  system  has 
deteriorated  badly  in  recent  years,  and  workers  have  reported 
great  difficulties  in  obtaining  benefits  due  them  under  the 
social  security  system.   Month-long  paid  vacations  and  a 
substantial  severance  pay  are  guaranteed.   There  is,  however, 
a  large  informal  sector  of  the  economy,  involving  both  urban 
and  especially  rural  workers,  in  which  many  of  these 
occupational  regulations  are  enforced  erratically  at  best. 


103 


DJIBOUTI 


Djibouti  is  a  one-party  state  ruled  since  independence  in  1977 
by  President  Hassan  Gouled  Aptidon  and  his  People's  Assembly 
for  Progress  (RPP),  which  has  been  the  only  lawful  political 
party  since  1981.   Public  life  in  Djibouti  is  dominated  by  two 
ethnic  groups,  the  politically  predominant  Issa  (the 
Somali-origin  tribe  of  the  President)  and  the  Afar  (who  are 
also  numerous  in  Ethiopia) .   The  Afar  are  the  largest  single 
tribe,  but  they  are  outnumbered  by  the  combined  Somali  ethnic 
elements  in  Djibouti,  among  whom  the  Issa  are  the  largest  and 
most  influential  component.   The  Presidency  is  considered 
reserved  for  an  Issa,  and  the  Prime  Ministry  for  an  Afar.   The 
various  ethnic  groups  are  represented  proportionally  in  the 
Cabinet  and  political  bodies,  which  results  in  a  dominant  role 
for  the  Issa  in  the  civil  service,  party,  and  armed  forces. 

Djibouti's  security  services  include  an  army  of  around  3,500 
total  personnel  and  three  national  police  forces:   the 
National  Security  Force  (FNS)  and  the  National  Police,  both 
under  the  Ministry  of  the  Interior,  and  the  Gendarmerie,  under 
the  Ministry  of  Defense.   The  latter  has  been  involved  in 
human  rights  violations.   France  guarantees  Djibouti's 
external  security  and  maintains  a  force  of  some  3,80,0  military 
personnel  in  Djibouti. 

Djibouti's  arid  soil  is  unproductive,  and  there  is  no 
industry;  commerce  and  services  for  the  10,000  expatriate 
(mostly  French)  residents,  and  operation  of  the  seaport  and 
airport  account  for  most  of  the  gross  domestic  product. 
Although  the  State  is  the  largest  employer,  persons  are  free 
to  pursue  private  business  interests  and  to  hold  personal  and 
real  property. 

Human  rights  continue  to  be  tightly  circumscribed  in 
Djibouti.   Areas  of  continuing  abuse  include  the  denial  of 
political  pluralism;  limitations  on  freedom  of  speech,  press, 
and  assembly;  instances  of  arbitrary  arrest  and  detention; 
refusal  to  recognize  the  refugee  rights  of  Somali  nationals 
fleeing  the  Somali  civil  war;  societal  discrimination  against 
women;  and  occasional  abusive  treatment  of  detainees  by  the 
Gendarmerie.   Instances  of  deportation  of  Somali  asylum 
seekers  continued  in  1990  but  dropped  substantially  in  the 
latter  half  of  the  year. 

RESPECT  FOR  HUMAN  RIGHTS 

Section  1  Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.  Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

There  were  no  instances  of  political  or  other  extrajudicial 
killing. 

b.  Disappearance 

There  were  no  instances  of  disappearance  of  persons  for 
political  reasons. 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment 

There  was  one  credible  report  of  torture  by  the  security 
services  during  1990.   Five  young  men  of  the  Afar  tribe  were 


104 


DJIBOUTI 

arrested  in  late  August,  apparently  for  engaging  in  political 
agitation  and  distributing  copies  of  an  article  from  a  Paris 
weekly  claiming  that  the  Government  of  Hassan  Gouled  had 
signed  a  secret  defense  accord  with  the  Government  of  Iraq. 
All  were  held  at  the  offices  of  the  Gendarmerie  from  1  to  4 
days,  during  which  time  they  were  subjected  to  beatings.   The 
first  of  the  group  to  be  arrested  was  tortured,  apparently  to 
obtain  the  names  of  the  other  four.   He  was  allegedly 
subjected  to  electric  shocks  on  the  soles  of  his  feet  and 
forced  to  ingest  water  until  he  lost  consciousness. 

Although  this  was  the  only  report  of  methodical  torture 
received  during  1990,  the  security  services — and  the 
Gendarmerie  in  particular — have  earned  a  reputation  for 
beatings  and  other  abusive  treatment  of  detainees  which 
continued  undiminished  in  1990.   For  example,  there  were 
unconfirmed  reports  that  four  young  men  arrested  in  connection 
with  a  September  grenade  attack  on  a  local  cafe  were  beaten 
during  their  interrogation.   The  four  later  recanted  their 
confessions,  claiming  that  they  had  been  tortured. 

Prison  conditions  are  harsh,  especially  in  Nagad  Prison  where 
many  Somali  asylum  seekers  have  been  held. 

d.  Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

By  law,  a  person  may  be  detained  no  more  than  48  hours  without 
an  examining  magistrate's  formal  charge.   In  practice,  this 
deadline  is  ignored  in  cases  of  political  interest.   An 
accused  has  the  right  to  counsel,  which  is  provided  by  the 
State  if  the  accused  is  destitute.   An  accused  person  awaiting 
trial  may,  by  a  judge's  order,  be  released  on  bail  or  personal 
recognizance  or  be  jailed  pending  the  verdict. 

Omar  Daoud,  leader  of  a  small  armed  Afar  opposition  group,  was 
arrested  in  June.   Late  in  the  year,  he  was  under  guard  in  a 
hospital  recovering  from  wounds  received  during  the  shootout 
that  resulted  in  his  capture. 

There  is  one  significant  opposition  group  in  exile,  the  United 
Movement  for  Democracy,  based  in  Paris  and  led  by  former 
Commerce  Minister  Aden  Robleh. 

e.  Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

Djibouti's  legal  system  is  a  mixture  of  Djiboutian  legislation 
and  executive  decrees,  French  codified  law  adopted  at 
independence,  Shari'a  (Islamic  law),  and  the  traditions  of  the 
native  nomadic  peoples.   Crimes  in  urban  areas  are  dealt  with 
according  to  French-inspired  law  and  judicial  practice  in  the 
regular  courts.   Civil  actions  may  be  brought  in  the  regular 
courts  or  in  traditional  courts  according  to  tribal  customs. 
Shari'a  courts  handle  only  family  matters  (marriage,  divorce, 
inheritance,  etc.).   Decisions  of  all  three  court  systems  may 
be  appealed  to  the  Supreme  Court. 

A  special  State  Security  Court  may  hear  in  closed  session 
cases  of  espionage,  treason,  and  acts  threatening  the  public 
order  or  the  "interest  of  the  Republic."   This  Court  last 
convened  in  1986. 

Proceedings  in  all  courts  except  the  State  Security  Court  are 
open  to  the  public.   The  judiciary  appears  to  be  generally 
sympathetic  to  the  government  position  and  susceptible  to 
government  influence  in  cases  of  political  interest.   There 


105 


DJIBOUTI 

can  be  long  delays  in  bringing  such  cases  to  trial.   The 
Tunisian  national  charged  with  the  fatal  1987  terrorist 
bombing  of  an  outdoor  cafe  remained  in  prison  awaiting  trial 
at  the  end  of  1990.   The  handling  of  another  security-related 
case  suggested  that  persons  may  be  held  on  weak  evidence  for 
political  rather  than  evidentiary  reasons. 

f .   Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 
Correspondence 

There  were  no  reported  instances  of  arbitrary  interference 
with  privacy,  family,  home,  or  correspondence  in  1990. 

Section  2  Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including: 

a.  Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

These  freedoms  are  restricted.   Those  who  express  public  views 
that  are  critical  of,  or  perceived  as  threatening  to,  the 
Government  face  prosecution  for  common  crimes  or  detention 
without  charge  for  short  periods.   Amnesty  International's 
1990  report  highlights  the  cases  of  6  persons  detained  for 
several  months  in  1989  for  criticizing  the  Government. 

Djibouti's  radio  and  television  stations  and  one  newspaper  (a 
French- language  weekly)  are  all  government  owned  and 
operated.   The  Government's  avowed  policy  is  to  coordinate  the 
dissemination  of  information  "in  the  interest  of  national 
development."   The  news  media  do  report  on  social  and  national 
development  problems  in  Djibouti,  but  the  Government  itself 
and  its  policies  are  not  criticized.   The  media  largely  avoid 
reporting  on  domestic  politics  and  ethnic  strife  in 
neighboring  Somalia  and  Ethiopia,  although  reporting  on 
regional  turmoil  and  political  movements  throughout  Africa 
increased  significantly  in  1990  compared  with  previous  years. 

As  a  rule,  the  Government  does  not  censor  or  forbid  the 
importation  of  books,  magazines,  or  newspapers.   However, 
copies  of  one  issue  of  a  Paris  weekly  newspaper  were  removed 
from  newstands  in  September  because  of  an  article  alleging  a 
secret  defense  accord  between  Djibouti  and  Iraq.   Five  young 
Afar  men  who  were  distributing  photocopies  of  the  article  were 
arrested  (see  Section  i.e.). 

b.  Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association. 

The  Government  effectively  bans  political  protest  by  selective 
enforcement  of  public  assembly  permit  laws.   Permits  for 
political  meetings  are  not  issued  outside  party  auspices,  and 
it  appears  that  permits  for  such  purposes  are  rarely  sought. 
Peaceful  assembly  and  association  for  nonpolitical  purposes 
are  routinely  permitted. 

There  are  no  institutions  of  higher  education  in  Djibouti.   A 
strike  in  February  by  students  protesting  a  reduction  in 
scholarships  for  overseas  study  was  handled  in  typical 
fashion.   The  students  were  allowed  to  stage  their  sit-down 
strike  in  front  of  the  school  for  a  short  period  but  were  then 
rounded  up  by  the  police,  held  overnight  at  a  juvenile 
detention  center,  and  later  released  to  their  parents.   None 
was  held  more  than  48  hours,  and  no  ill  treatment  was 
reported.   A  similar  strike  in  November  was  allowed  to  proceed 
without  police  interference. 


106 


DJIBOUTI 

c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

Djibouti  respects  freedom  of  religion  for  all  faiths. 
Virtually  the  entire  population  is  Sunni  Muslim.   The  holy 
days  of  Islam  are  legal  holidays,  and  the  Government  and  all 
private  offices  observe  Islam's  month  of  Ramadan  with  a 
shortened  workday.   However,  the  Government  imposes  no 
sanctions  on  those  who  choose  to  ignore  Islamic  teachings  on 
diet,  alcohol  consumption,  or  religious  fasting. 

The  expatriate  community  supports  Roman  Catholic,  French 
Protestant,  and  Greek  and  Ethiopian  Orthodox  churches.   Less 
than  1  percent  of  the  native  population  belongs  to  these 
Christian  congregations.   Foreign  clergy  and  missionaries  may 
perform  charitable  works,  but  proselytizing  is  a  sensitive 
issue  and,  while  not  illegal,  is  discouraged. 

d.  Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

Djiboutians  travel  freely  within  Djibouti  and  may  live  and 
work  where  they  choose.   Djiboutians  leave  for,  and  return 
from,  international  travel  without  restriction  or 
interference.   Passports  are  available  to  all  Djiboutians  but 
are  invalid  for  travel  to  Israel  or  South  Africa. 

Djibouti  cooperates  with  the  United  Nations  High  Commissioner 
for  Refugees  (UNHCR)  to  assist  and  protect  the  approximately 
1,500  registered  Ethiopian  refugees  in  the  country.   As  a 
matter  of  policy,  however,  the  Government  does  not  recognize 
as  refugees  the  approximately  35,000  Somali  nationals  who  have 
fled  the  Somali  civil  war.   The  Government  has  an  informal 
agreement  with  UNHCR  that  these  refugees  will  not  be  forcibly 
repatriated  if  they  do  not  "cause  trouble."   However,  the 
UNHCR  in  fact  has  limited  ability  to  extend  protection  to 
these  persons,  and  the  Government  continued  to  repatriate 
forcibly  Somali  asylum  seekers  as  "illegal  aliens,"  especially 
during  the  first  half  of  1990.   This  policy  was  curtailed  in 
the  latter  half  of  the  year,  but  an  estimated  100  Somali 
asylum  seekers  were  deported  to  Ethiopia  and  Somalia  in  the 
first  half  of  1990.   Roughly  50  undocumented  Somali  and 
Ethiopian  nationals  were  deported  to  Ethiopia  after  having 
allegedly  participated  in  Iraqi-inspired  demonstrations  in 
August . 

Section  3   Respect  for  Political  Rights;   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

Citizens  do  not  have  the  right  to  change  their  form  of 
government  through  democratic  means.   All  legal  political 
activity  is  conducted  within  Djibouti's  single  party,  the 
People's  Assembly  for  Progress  (RPP) .   As  in  most  Djiboutian 
institutions,  the  Issas  have  a  dominant  role  in  the  RPP,  which 
has  had  a  monopoly  of  power  since  the  rival  Djiboutian 
People's  Movement  (MPD)  was  outlawed  in  1981.   The  party 
chooses  the  candidates  for  the  Presidency  and  the  65-member 
National  Assembly,  a  legislative  body  with  limited  power. 
Presidential  and  National  Assembly  elections  are  held  every  7 
and  5  years  respectively.   Citizens  are  encouraged  to  vote, 
but  their  only  choice  is  whether  to  cast  a  ballot  for  or 
against  the  party's  candidates.   The  two  different  ballots 
must  be  cast  in  different  boxes,  making  it  obvious  who  votes 
against  the  party. 


107 


DJIBOUTI 

Section  4  Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

The  Government  has  refused  repeated  attempts  by  a  small  group 
of  Djiboutians  to  register  formally  a  "Djiboutian  League  for 
Human  Rights."  The  Government  has  generally  responded  to 
inquiries  from  international  human  rights  and  humanitarian 
organizations  concerning  human  rights  practices,  and  such 
groups  may  visit  and  travel  in  Djibouti. 

Amnesty  International  (AI)  wrote  to  the  Minister  of  Interior 
in  1989  concerning  the  case  of  Abdulqadir  Daoud,  who  died  in 
custody,  possibly  of  torture.   The  Minister  replied  that  Daoud 
had  died  in  a  hospital  after  a  heart  attack.   The  Government 
did  not  reply  to  AI ' s  subsequent  request  for  an  investigation. 

Section  5  Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

The  dominant  status  of  the  Issa  in  the  party,  the  civil 
service,  and  the  military  is  reinforced  by  de  facto 
discrimination  based  on  tribe  and  language  against  the  Afar, 
and  discrimination  based  on  tribe  against  the  Isaak.  and 
Gadaboursi . 

Women  in  Djibouti  legally  possess  full  civil  rights,  but 
traditionally  play  a  secondary  role  in  public  life.   Women  are 
active  in  small  trade,  as  well  as  in  the  clerical  and 
secretarial  fields.   There  are  women,  though  only  a  few,  in 
the  professions  (civil  service,  judiciary,  teaching,  and 
medicine)  and  in  the  police  and  armed  forces. 

According  to  medical  personnel,  violence  against  women — 
including  rape  and  wife  beating — may  have  increased  somewhat 
during  1990.   However,  while  data  are  limited,  such  violence 
is  still  considered  a  relatively  infrequent  occurrence. 
Neither  the  Government  nor  the  party-affiliated  Djiboutian 
National  Women's  Union  (UNFD)  has  addressed  the  issue.   Most 
domestic  and  community  violence  is  considered  a  family  or  clan 
matter,  dealt  with  accordingly,  and  therefore  rarely  brought 
to  the  attention  of  authorities.   In  November  1988,  the  UNFD 
began  a  government-supported  campaign  against  female 
circumcision.   Progress  in  the  campaign  has  been  slow, 
particularly  in  the  northern  districts,  where  nomadic 
traditions  of  genital  mutilation  of  young  girls  (e.g., 
clitoral  excision  and  the  more  extreme  practice  of 
inf ibulation)  have  been  widely  practiced. 

Section  6  Worker  Rights 

a.   The  Right  of  Association 

Workers  are  free  to  join  or  not  join  unions  as  they  choose, 
but  only  a  small  percentage  of  Djiboutian  workers  are  union 
members.   Trade  unions,  therefore,  play  a  minimal  role  in 
Djibouti.   Many  unions  represent  employees  of  only  a  single 
private  or  state-owned  enterprise.   The  Government  exerts 
control  over  individual  unions  through  the  single, 
state-organized  labor  central,  the  General  Union  of  Djiboutian 
Workers  (UGTD) .   The  UGTD  is  a  member  of  Africa's 
continent-wide  official  trade  union  body,  the  Organization  of 
African  Trade  Union  Unity.   Unions  are  free  to  maintain 
relations  and  exchange  programs  with  unions  and  labor 
organizations  in  other  countries. 


108 


DJIBOUTI 

Workers  are  free  to  strike,  but  in  practice  most  labor  actions 
are  limited  to  short,  wildcat  strikes. 

b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

The  law  recognizes  labor's  right  to  organize  and  collective 
bargaining.   In  practice,  formal  collective  bargaining  is 
virtually  nonexistent.   Relations  between  workers  and 
employers  are  informal  and  paternalistic.   On  questions  of 
wages  and  health  and  safety  conditions,  the  Ministry  of  Labor 
encourages  direct,  ad  hoc  resolution  by  labor  representatives 
and  employers.   Either  workers  or  employers  may  initiate  a 
formal  administrative  hearing  at  which  the  Labor  Inspection 
Service  of  the  Ministry  of  Labor  mediates.   Discrimination 
against  labor  unions  is  prohibited  by  law,  and  there  were  no 
known  instances  of  discrimination  in  1990.   There  are  no 
export  processing  zones. 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

Forced  and  compulsory  labor  are  prohibited  by  law  and  do  not 
exist. 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

The  legal  minimum  age  of  14  years  is  respected  in  practice. 
Children  may  and  do  work  in  family-owned  businesses  such  as 
restaurants  and  small  shops,  including  at  night.   Children  are 
not  employed  under  hazardous  conditions.   The  Ministry  of 
Labor  is  responsible  for  enforcement  of  child  labor  laws. 

e.  Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

Minimum  wage  rates  are  specified  by  government  regulations 
according  to  occupational  categories,  and  are  enforced  by  the 
Ministry  of  Labor.   Last  increased  in  1976,  minimum  wages 
range  from  $80  a  month  for  unskilled  laborers  to  $1,400  a 
month  for  "directors"  and  medical  doctors.   Many  workers  also 
receive  housing  or  housing  allowances  and  transportation  and 
food  allowances,  in  addition  to  mandatory  seniority  bonuses. 
These  amounts  are  not  entirely  adequate  to  provide  a  worker 
and  his  family  with  a  decent  standard  of  living. 

By  law,  the  maximum  workweek  is  40  hours,  often  spread  over  6 
days.   Overtime  pay  regulations  are  in  effect.   Workers  are 
guaranteed  daily  and  weekly  rest  periods  and  paid  annual 
vacations.   The  Ministry  of  Labor  effectively  enforces 
occupational  health  and  safety  standards,  wages,  and  work 
hours  through  a  system  of  inspection,  dispute  mediation,  and 
administrative  action  by  the  Labor  Inspection  Service. 


109 


EQUATORIAL  GUINEA 

Equatorial  Guinea  is  a  one-party  state  headed  by  President 
Obiang  Nguema  Mbasogo  who,  in  1979,  overthrew  the  ruthless 
dictatorship  of  Francisco  Macias.   In  1982  a  constitution  was 
promulgated,  national  and  local  assemblies  were  selected,  and 
Obiang  officially  declared  the  Government  to  be  civilian.   In 
1986  Obiang  established  Eqnaatorial  Guinea's  sole  legal 
political  party,  the  Democratic  party  of  Equatorial  Guinea 
(DPEG) .   This  party,  made  up  mostly  of  members  of  Obiang's 
Fang  tribe  from  Rio  Muni,  the  country's  mainland  region, 
controls  the  Government  without  viable  opposition.   Only  party 
members  may  hold  elective  offices.   In  August  1989,  Obiang 
staged  the  first  presidential  election  since  1968;  as  the  only 
candidate,  he  was  elected  to  a  7-year  term. 

Police  and  internal  security  forces  are  responsible  for  public 
order.   They  are  augmented  by  a  350  to  500  man  presidential 
guard  unit  provided  by  Morocco.   The  civilian  police  and 
internal  security  forces  historically  have  committed  the 
majority  of  human  rights  abuses. 

The  population  of  Eqiaatorial  Guinea,  estimated  at  350,000, 
lives  mainly  by  subsistence  agriculture,  fishing,  and 
hunting.   Per  capita  annual  income  is  approximately  $457.   The 
small  wage  economy,  based  on  cocoa,  lumber,  and  coffee,  has 
not  recovered  from  the  devastation  caused  by  the  death  or 
exodus  of  thousands  of  trained  and  educated  citizens  during 
the  tyrannical  Macias  era.   Nevertheless,  a  very  small  middle 
class  has  emerged  in  recent  years,  and  membership  in  the  West 
Africa  franc  currency  zone  since  1985  has  improved  economic 
performance  and  helped  to  create  greater  fiscal  integrity. 
Equatorial  Guinea  still  remains  heavily  dependent  on  foreign 
aid;  Spain,  the  former  colonial  power,  and  France  are  the  key 
donors . 

Political  rights  of  all  kinds,  including  freedom  of  speech  and 
assembly,  continued  to  be  tightly  restricted  in  Equatorial 
Guinea  in  1990,  and  police  brutality  remained  a  significant 
problem.   There  was  no  indication  that  the  Government  intended 
to  open  up  the  system  or  to  allow  any  sort  of  legal 
opposition.   However,  in  September  the  President  established  a 
commission  of  the  national  legislature  to  monitor  human  rights 
conditions,  apparently  in  response  to  reports  from  Amnesty 
International  (AI)  of  serious  human  rights  abuses.   Given  the 
subservience  of  the  legislature  to  the  executive,  there  seemed 
little  likelihood  that  the  commission  would  be  an  effective 
restraint  on  human  rights  abuses. 

RESPECT  FOR  HUMAN  RIGHTS 

Section  1  Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.  Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 
No  such  killings  were  reported  in  1990. 

b.  Disappearance 

There  were  no  known  disappearances. 


110 


EQUATORIAL  GUINEA 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment. 

There  have  been  repeated  credible  reports  that  police  and 
other  security  forces  frequently  resort  to  torture  and  other 
cruel  forms  of  mistreatment  of  detainees.   These  reports 
indicate  that  the  authorities  employ  a  wide  variety  of 
techniques,  including  severe  beatings,  electric  shock 
treatments,  and  hanging  victims  by  their  feet.   AI  in  its  1990 
report  stated  that  Jose  Primo  Esono  Mica  had  been  tortured  in 
1989  by  having  his  legs  and  arms  tied  behind  him,  causing  his 
back  to  arch  painfully,  and  then  being  suspended  by  a  rope. 
The  Government  denied  he  had  been  tortured  but  released  him  in 
March  and  deported  him  to  Spain  (see  Section  2.d.). 

AI  continued  to  report  alleged  instances  of  torture  during 
1990,  including  the  cases  of  Jose  Eneme,  until  January  1990 
Equatorial  Guinea's  consul  in  Douala,  Cameroon,  and  Juan  Eyeme 
Nguema,  former  head  of  the  National  Institute  of  Social 
Security.   The  Government  denied  that  either  man  had  been 
tortured.   In  the  case  of  Jose  Eneme,  it  claimed  that  he  had 
been  tried  for  embezzling  government  funds.   In  fact,  Eneme ' s 
arrest  appeared  tied  to  accusations  that  he  was  responsible 
for  the  death  by  witchcraft  of  his  vice  consul,  a  relative  of 
President  Obiang,  who  died  following  an  automobile  accident. 
The  Government  released  Nguema  in  July,  but  Eneme  remained  in 
jail  at  the  end  of  1990. 

In  October  1989,  two  police  officials  were  convicted  of 
physically  abusing  a  British  subject  on  contract  with  the 
World  Bank  and  sentenced  to  several  months  in  prison.   One  of 
the  officials,  the  son  of  a  cabinet  minister,  was  not 
imprisoned  but  spent  his  sentence  under  house  arrest  at  his 
home  in  Malabo.   He  was  subsequently  dismissed  from  the  police. 

Prison  conditions  continued  to  be  extremely  harsh.   Basic 
amenities  were  unavailable,  and  prisoners'  essential  needs 
were  largely  supplied  by  their  families  or  friends.   At  least 
some  prisoners  were  set  free  1  day  a  week  to  forage  for  food. 

d.  Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

Despite  constitutional  provisions,  there  was  little 
enforcement  of  the  rights  of  persons  in  detention  to  be 
charged  or  released  within  a  reasonable  period  of  time,vto 
have  access  to  a  lawyer,  or  to  be  released  on  bail.   Arbitrary 
arrests  by  security  forces  or  police  are  commonplace,  often  on 
spurious  charges,  in  order  to  extort  money.   Many  detainees 
are  held  incommunicado.   The  number  of  political  detainees 
held  at  the  end  of  1990  was  not  known. 

The  Government  continues  to  encourage  exiles  to  return  to 
Equatorial  Guinea,  assuring  them  that  they  will  not  be 
persecuted.   At  the  same  time,  however,  the  Government  makes 
it  clear  that  political  activity  outside  the  party  will  not  be 
tolerated.   Although  Severo  Moto,  leader  of  the  outlawed 
Progress  Party,  visited  Equatorial  Guinea  without  incident  in 
1988,  other  political  exiles  have  not  been  so  fortunate.   Jose 
Luis  Jones  Dougan,  an  associate  of  Moto,  and  Jose  Primo  Esono 
Mica  returned  to  Equatorial  Guinea  in  1988.   Both  were 
arrested  and  convicted  of  complicity  in  an  alleged  coup  plot 
and  sentenced  to  long  prison  terms.   After  AI  and  others  took 
an  interest  in  their  cases,  Jones  Dougan  was  released  in 
December  1988  and  Esono  Mica  in  March  1990.   Both  returned  to 


Ill 


EQUATORIAL  GUINEA 

Spain.   Others  convicted  at  the  same  time,  including  Francisco 
Bonifacio  Mba  Nguema,  remain  in  jail. 

e.  Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

There  is  a  formal  court  structure,  with  the  Supreme  Court  at 
the  apex,  and  also  military  and  customary  (tribal)  court 
systems.   Tribal  laws  and  customs  are  honored  in  the  formal 
court  system  when  not  in  conflict  with  national  law.   The 
tribunal  provided  for  in  the  Constitution  to  decide 
constitutional  issues  has  never  been  established.   Under  the 
Constitution,  military  tribunals  hear  all  capital  cases. 

There  is  no  separation  between  the  executive  and  the 
judiciary,  and  Supreme  Court  justices  serve  at  the  pleasure  of 
the  President.   The  executive  branch  acts  with  little  respect 
or  understanding  for  judicial  independence.   Laws  are 
freqijently  enacted  by  decree  without  any  public  announcement, 
except  for  an  occasional  brief  mention  on  the  government  radio. 

The  nation's  mixture  of  traditional  (tribal)  law,  military 
law,  and  Spanish  rules  and  procedures  combines  to  produce  an 
inconsistent  system  of  justice.   Judges  and  court  officials 
are  poorly  trained.   There  is  little  concept  of  due  process, 
and  appellate  proceedings  are  nonexistent.   Defendants  unable 
to  afford  legal  counsel  stand  little  chance  of  acquittal.   The 
fact  that  the  few  lawyers  (approximately  20)  in  the  country 
depend  on  their  connections  to  the  Government  for  a  livelihood 
raises  questions  about  the  impartiality  of  the  defense  their 
clients  might  receive.   Unless  represented  by  counsel,  those 
arrested  in  Equatorial  Guinea  usually  have  no  way  of  knowing 
if  the  offense  they  have  been  charged  with  is  bona  fide. 

The  Government  has  begun  to  address  the  need  for  judicial 
reform  and  development.   Spain  and  the  United  Nations  Human 
Rights  Commission  (UNHRC)  jointly  financed  a  visit  to 
Equatorial  Guinea  by  two  senior  Spanish  judges  to  review  the 
court  system  and  civil  registry  and  to  make  recommendations 
for  improving  them.   The  judges  will  present  a  report  to  the 
UNHRC  in  Geneva  and  to  the  Governments  of  Spain  and  Equatorial 
Guinea.   The  report,  due  in  January  1991,  will  recommend 
measures  to  improve  Equatorial  Guinea's  judicial  system  and 
respect  for  human  rights.   Spain  also  agreed  to  train  judges 
who  would  then  serve  on  the  Supreme  Court . 

f.  Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 
Correspondence 

The  Government  sometimes  places  under  surveillance  persons  it 
deems  suspicious.   While  many  believe  telephone  conversations 
are  routinely  monitored,  there  seems  to  be  no  deliberate 
interference  with  correspondence.   Although  required  by  the 
Constitution,  search  warrants  are  not  normally  used. 

Section  2   Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including 

a.   Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

Public  criticism  of  the  Government  is  not  tolerated.   There  is 
a  small  weekly  newspaper  owned  by  the  Government,  which  never 
criticizes  the  Government.   The  Government  owns  and,  with 
assistance  from  the  Spanish  Government,  operates  the  only 
television  and  radio  stations.   Local  news  is  government 
produced  and  contains  no  criticism  of  the  Government. 


112 


EQUATORIAL  GUINEA 

International  news  items  are  generally  supplied  by  the  Spanish 
agency  EFE,  United  States  Information  Agency,  and  other 
sources.   Although  there  were  no  known  cases  of  confiscation 
of  foreign  publications  brought  into  the  country  by  travelers 
in  1990,  distribution  of  foreign  publications  critical  of  the 
Government  is  forbidden. 

b.  Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

Despite  constitutional  provisions  guaranteeing  these  freedoms, 
the  Government's  firm  position  is  that  opposition  political 
organizations  and  assemblies  will  not  be  tolerated.   Private 
nonpolitical  groups,  such  as  professional  organizations, 
churches,  and  sports  groups,  require  government  approval  to 
hold  meetings . 

c.  Freedom  of  religion 

With  one  exception,  freedom  of  religion  is  generally 
respected.   Jehovah's  Witnesses,  originally  banned  from  the 
country  in  1985  and  harassed  in  1986  and  1987,  are  still 
prohibited.   Foreign  clergy  and  missionaries  continue  to  have 
an  active  role  in  educational  development.   All  denominations 
are  allowed  to  participate  in  charitable  as  well  as  religious 
activities.   Christianity,  mainly  Roman  Catholicism,  is  the 
predominant  religion.   In  general,  active  proselytizing  by 
Protestant  denominations  is  discouraged,  but  conversions  are 
permitted.   Government  permission  must  be  obtained  to  open  new 
churches . 

d.  Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

There  are  no  explicit  restrictions  on  travel  within  the 
country.   There  are  restrictions  on  travel  abroad,  including 
lengthy  delays  in  obtaining  passports.   Both  citizens  and 
residents  of  Equatorial  Guinea  must  obtain  exit  permits, 
issued  by  the  security  police,  to  leave  the  country.   Many 
Equatorial  Guineans  leave  the  country  without  formal 
documentation  for  both  economic  and  political  reasons  and 
reside  abroad,  mostly  in  Spain,  France,  Cameroon,  and  Gabon. 

The  Government  encourages  Equatorial  Guineans  abroad  to 
return,  but  in  1990  few  did  so.   In  the  case  of  Jose  Primo 
Esono  Mica,  the  Government  ruled  that,  by  adopting  Spanish 
citizenship,  he  had  lost  Equatorial  Guinean  citizenship  (see 
Section  1 . d. ) . 

There  are  a  number  of  workers  from  other  African  countries  in 
Equatorial  Guinea.   These  African  workers  sometimes  must 
resort  to  bribery  to  obtain  legal  registration  but  generally 
are  free  to  work  and  travel  within  the  country. 

Section  3   Respect  for  Political  Rights:  The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

The  people  of  Equatorial  Guinea  do  not  have  the  right  to 
change  their  government  by  democratic  means.   President  Obiang 
was  reelected  in  1989  as  the  sole  legal  candidate.   His 
Democratic  Party  of  Equatorial  Guinea  (DPEG)  is  the  only 
political  party  allowed  to  function.   Only  party  members  may 
be  candidates  in  elections,  and  the  legislature  is  subordinate 
to  the  executive  with  no  independent  authority. 


113 


EQUATORIAL  GUINEA 

Section  4  Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
•       of  Human  Rights 

In  1990  the  Government  showed  a  degree  of  political 
sensitivity  to  allegations  of  human  rights  violations  lodged 
by  AI  and  others.   In  September  President  Obiang  specifically 
addressed  an  AI  report  on  torture  in  Equatorial  Guinea  when  he 
announced  formation  of  a  commission  to  monitor  human  rights. 
The  commission  had  not  been  organized  by  the  end  of  1990.   The 
President  invited  the  Secretary  General  or  another  high  AI 
official  to  visit  Equatorial  Guinea. 

Section  5  Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

Although  the  law  calls  for  equal  treatment  for  all,  tribal 
groups  are  not  always  granted  the  same  rights  and  privileges. 
The  Fang  tribe  comprises  80  percent  of  the  population,  the 
Bubi  15  percent,  and  other  groups  5  percent.   The  Fang  clans, 
of  which  President  Obiang  is  a  member,  dominate  all  aspects  of 
government,  the  military,  and  social  life.   Discrimination 
against  the  Bubi,  Fernandino,  and  Playero  ethnic  groups  is 
consistent,  whether  in  the  granting  of  political  office  or  the 
approval  of  academic  scholarships.   There  are,  however, 
members  of  minority  groups  in  positions  of  prominence,  e.g.,  a 
Bubi  has  held  the  office  of  Prime  Minister  since  1982,  and  a 
member  of  another  minority  is  Secretary  General  of  the  ruling 
party. 

Women  are  confined  by  custom  to  traditional  roles,  especially 
in  agriculture.   Polygamy,  which  is  widespread,  contributes  to 
the  secondary  status  in  society  given  to  women.   According  to 
the  Government,  boys  and  girls  are  equally  likely  to  complete 
secondary  school.   The  Constitution  and  laws  guarantee  equal 
rights  for  women.   There  is  no  legal  discrimination  in 
employment,  though  women  are  largely  excluded  from  some 
fields,  such  as  the  military,  by  tradition.   The  Ministry  for 
the  Promotion  of  Women  focuses  on  agriculture,  handicrafts, 
and  professional  training.   It  is  interested  in  developing 
women's  agricultural  cooperatives  and  enrolling  more  women  in 
the  School  of  Professional  Training  in  Malabo. 

According  to  medical  doctors  employed  in  hospitals,  neither 
violence  against  women  nor  abuse  of  children  is  common.   The 
Government  has  not  addressed  violence  as  an  issue  and  looks  to 
the  Ministry  for  the  Promotion  of  Women  to  advance  the 
interests  of  women  in  Equatorial  Guinean  society.   According 
to  the  medical  community,  female  circumcision  is  not  practiced 
in  Equatorial  Guinea. 

Section  6  Worker  Rights 

a.   The  Right  of  Association 

Workers  do  not  have  the  right  of  free  association.   In  the 
small  wage  economy,  no  labor  organizations  exist,  although 
there  are  a  few  cooperatives  with  limited  power.   Strikes  are 
prohibited  by  law.   Equatorial  Guinea  has  been  a  member  of  the 
International  Labor  Organization  (ILO)  since  1981  but  has 
ratified  neither  ILO  convention  87  on  freedom  of  association 
nor  convention  98  on  the  right  to  organize  and  collective 
bargaining. 


36-976  0-91-5 


114 


EQUATORIAL  GUINEA 

b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

There  is  no  legislation  regarding  these  rights,  and  no       • 
evidence  of  collective  bargaining  by  any  group.   Wages  are  set 
by  the  Government  and  the  employer  with  little  or  no  input  by 
the  worker.   The  employer  must  meet  the  minimum  wage  set  by 
the  Government,  and  most  companies  pay  above  the  government 
established  minimum.   There  are  no  export  processing  or  free 
trade  zones. 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

Forced  labor  and  slavery  are  prohibited  by  law,  and  netither 
is  practiced. 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

The  legal  minimum  age  for  employment  is  16,  but  there  is  no 
enforcement  of  this  law.  Children  younger  than  16  commonly 
assist  families  with  agricultural  production  and  sales. 

e.  Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

There  is  only  a  small  industrial  sector  in  the  country.   Most 
salaried  employment  is  provided  by  the  Government,  construction 
companies,  businesses  providing  retail  goods  and  services,  and 
the  plantation  agricultural  sector.   In  1990  the  Government 
increased  the  statutory  minimum  wage  rates  to  approximately 
$56  per  month  for  agricultural  workers  and  $104  per  month  for 
workers  in  nonagricultural  sectors.   The  minimum  wage  law  is 
not  widely  enforced,  and  government  employees  are  exempted 
from  its  provisions.   No  reliable  figures  exist  for  average 
monthly  salary  of  those  employed  in  the  small  wage  economy. 
Most  of  those  with  regular  salaried  employment  have  to 
supplement  their  earnings  with  income  from  other  sources  or  by 
farming  to  provide  a  decent  standard  of  living  for  their 
families.   The  law  limits  the  regular  workweek  to  48  hours  and 
guarantees  employees  1  rest  day  per  week  plus  regularly 
scheduled  national  holidays.   Occupational  health  and  safety 
standards  do  not  exist.   There  is  no  effective  monitoring  of 
work  hours  or  labor  conditions. 


115 


ETHIOPIA 


The  People's  Democratic  Republic  of  Ethiopia  is  a  single-party 
state  headed  by  President  Mengistu  Haile-Mariam,  who  led  a 
military  takeover  in  1977.   The  Leninist-style  Constitution 
adopted  in  1987  provided  for  a  Council  of  State,  a  Council  of 
Ministers,  and  a  Parliament  (Shengo) .   In  1990  President 
Mengistu  rhetorically  abandoned  Marxism-Leninism,  but  the 
Workers'  Party. of  Ethiopia  (WPE)  remains  the  most  powerful  of 
the  country's  political  institutions.   Power  remains  in  the 
hands  of  President  Mengistu,  who  is  Chief  of  State,  General 
Secretary  of  the  WPE,  and  Commander-in-Chief  of  the  armed 
forces . 

Ethiopia's  armed  forces  are  the  largest  in  sub-Saharan  Africa, 
numbering  well  over  300,000  troops  and  assisted  by  Soviet  and 
North  Korean  advisers.   An  extensive  security  apparatus  under 
the  Ministry  of  Internal  Affairs  attempts  to  control  the 
population  through  a  combination  of  surveillance  and 
informers.   The  Government  justifies  its  security  and  defense 
expenditures  (at  least  60  percent  of  the  government  budget)  on 
the  basis  of  a  civil  war  involving  various  insurgencies, 
principally  involving  Eritreans,  Oromos,  and  Tigrayans.   The 
insurgents'  success  in  1990,  including  taking  the  port  city  of 
Mits ' iwa  early  in  the  year,  led  the  Government  to  intensify 
its  coerced  mobilization  of  .thousands  of  new  recruits,  many  of 
them  under  16  years  of  age. 

The  Ethiopian  economy  is  based  on  small-farm  agriculture, 
which  employs  85  percent  of  the  population.   Coffee  exports 
provide  65  to  75  percent  of  foreign  exchange  earnings.   In 
March  the  Government  announced  potentially  far-reaching 
economic  reforms,  declaring  in  favor  of  free  market  policies, 
including  deregulation  of  inefficient  state-sponsored 
agriculture  and  privatization  of  money-losing  state 
enterprises.   There  has  been  very  little  progress  toward 
official  implementation  of  these  reforms,  due  substantially  to 
the  Government's  preoccupation  with  war  mobilization. 
However,  changes  have  occurred  in  rural  areas  despite 
Government  inaction,  as  peasants  have  met  little  resistance  in 
dismantling  producer  cooperatives.   Chronic  drought  conditions 
in  much  of  the  country  also  continue  to  drain  precious 
resources  from  a  nation  that  is  among  the  poorest  in  the  world. 

Human  rights  in  Ethiopia  in  1990  continued  to  be  affected 
seriously  by  the  long  civil  war,  which  again  took  an 
extraordinary  cost  in  lives  and  property.   All  sides  engaged 
in  harsh  conscription  campaigns.   The  Government  held 
negotiations  with  the  Eritrean  People's  Liberation  Front 
(EPLF),  the  Tigray  People's  Liberation  Front  (TPLF),  and  the 
Eritrean  Liberation  Front  (ELF),  but  at  year's  end  there  was 
little  progress  toward  a  cease-fire,  although  there  was 
cooperation  with  relief  organizations  in  moving  food  shipments 
into  famine  areas .   The  Government  and  the  EPLF  agreed  in 
December  to  the  World  Food  Program  proposal  to  reopen  the  port 
of  Mits 'iwa  to  relief  shipments. 

Major  human  rights  abuses  by  the  Government  included;   the  use 
of, torture  in  interrogation;  arbitrary,  incommunicado 
detentions;  the  lack  of  fair  public  trials;  restrictions  on 
freedoms  of  speech,  press,  assembly,  and  association,  and  the 
right  of  citizens  to  change  their  government;  and  limitations 
on  worker  rights.   On  the  positive  side,  Ethiopia  officially 
allowed  increased  rates  of  emigration  for  Ethiopian  Jews, 
especially  after  Ethiopia  and  Israel  agreed  in  November  to 
implement  new  modalities  for  family  reunification. 


116 

ETHIOPIA 

RESPECT  FOR  HUMAN  RIGHTS 

Section  1  Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.  Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

Ethiopia's  29-year-old  civil  war  continued  to  cause  great 
numbers  of  casualties,  including  among  civilians  (see  Section 
i.g.). 

In  May,  12  generals  convicted  of  mounting  a  coup  against 
President  Mengistu  in  1989  were  executed  after  a  5-month  trial 
that  did  not  meet  accepted  standards  of  fair  trial. 

b.  Disappearance 

There  were  no  reports  of  political  disappearances  by  the 
Government  this  year.   Amnesty  International  noted  in  its  1990 
report  (covering  1989)  that  detainees  arrested  after  the  May 
1989  coup  attempt  were  held  incommunicado  and  that  unconfirmed 
reports  indicated  at  least  one  detainee  "disappeared"  while  in 
custody.   There  are  frequent  disappearances  of  party  and 
government  officials  in  areas  that  fall  under  the  control  of 
the  TPLF  insurgents. 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment 

The  1987  Constitution  notably  omits  a  passage  from  the  1955 
constitution  prohibiting  cruel  and  inhuman  punishment.   The 
Ministry  of  Internal  Affairs  maintains  numerous  interrogation 
and  detention  centers,  such  as  the  Central  Prison  and  the 
notorious  "Third  Police  Station"  in  Addis  Ababa  and  the  Mariam 
Gimki  Center  in  Asmera.   Physical  abuse  and  torture  are  common 
for  those  detainees  suspected  of  affiliation  with  an 
opposition  or  insurgent  group,  or  harboring  antigovernment 
sentiments,  although  since  the  advent  of  negotiations  there 
has  been  a  sharp  drop  in  the  number  of  reports  of  torture. 
These  groups  have  included  members  of  the  EPLF,  TPLF,  Oromo 
Liberation  Front  (OLF),  ELF,  and  the  Ethiopian  People's 
Revolutionary  Party  (EPRP) .   Common  methods  of  torture  have 
included  beating  on  the  soles  of  the  feet,  suspension  from  a 
rope  in  a  contorted  position,  death  threats,  mock  executions, 
sleep  deprivation,  and  submergence  to  the  point  of 
unconsciousness  in  tanks  of  water. 

The  12  generals  sentenced  to  death  for  alleged  involvement  in 
the  1989  coup  attempt  were  reportedly  tortured  before  their 
executions  (see  Section  i.e.). 

In  May  the  authorities  arrested  an  estimated  350  students  for 
demonstrating  in  Addis  Ababa  against  the  execution  of  the  12 
generals.   They  were  taken  to  a  police  training  camp  outside 
the  capital,  detained  for  1  week,  made  to  walk  barefoot  over 
sharp  stones,  and  given  minimal  food  rations. 

d.  Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

The  1987  Constitution  provides  for  arraignment  in  court  within 
48  hours,  arrest  warrants,  a  fair  trial,  protection  against 
self-incrimination,  and  the  right  to  counsel.   However, 
Ethiopians  suspected  of  antigovernment  actions  or  sentiments 
continue  to  be  subject  to  arrest  or  detention  by  the  police 
without  charge  or  judicial  review.   In  politically  sensitive 


117 


ETHIOPIA 

arrests,  the  Government  generally  prefers  to  operate 
furtively,  taking  the  suspect  from  home  at  night. 
Door-to-door  searches  at  night  have  also  been  a  common  feature 
of  the  Government's  forced  conscription  campaigns. 

The  1988  state  of  emergency  declared  for  Eritrea  and  Tigray 
remains  in  effect  and  permits  security  forces  to  stop,  detain, 
and  hold  indefinitely  at  any  time,  without  court  or 
prosecutor's  warrant,  any  person  who  has  violated  or  is 
suspected  of  having  violated  the  special  emergency  decree  or 
who  in  any  manner  disturbs  law  and  order  within  the  emergency 
areas.   In  these  war-torn  areas,  both  sides  in  the  conflict 
often  detain  persons  on  the  slightest  suspicion. 

The  Government  freed  620  persons,  described  as  "legal  and 
political  prisoners",  from  Eritrean  prisons  in  September. 
Reportedly  the  "political"  prisoners  covered  by  the  release 
were  predominantly  those  arrested  while  resisting 
conscription.   Government  forces  in  Eritrea  have  been 
encircled  by  the  EPLF  since  February,  and  lack  of  food  was 
believed  to  be  the  major  factor  in  the  Government's  decision 
to  release  the  large  number  of  prisoners. 

While  precise  information  is  difficult  to  obtain  due  to 
government  secrecy,  reports  suggest  that  up  to  500  political 
detainees  may  remain  in  Ethiopia.   The  Government's  use  of  the 
term  "political  prisoner"  extends  to  those  resisting 
conscription  and  to  those  arrested  for  possible  connection  to 
rebel  movements.   Many  detainees  are  students  or  former 
government  officials  arrested  during  the  Red  Terror  of  the 
late  1970 's.   Most  have  never  been  charged  and  are  Oromos, 
Eritreans,  and  Tigrayans.   The  Government  arrested  four 
Ethiopian  Jews  in  1987  who  were  sentenced  to  5-year  terms  and 
are  being  held  in  Gonder .   Three  others  were  jailed  in  Gonder 
this  fall  for  alleged  involvement  with  the  TPLF .   The 
Government  does  not  use  exile  as  a  means  of  political  control. 

e.   Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

Ethiopia's  judicial  system  remains  bifurcated  in  practice  if 
not  in  theory.   While  nonpolitical  civil  and  criminal 
offenders  are  usually  granted  fair  public  trial,  military  and 
political  cases  are  subject  to  official  manipulation  and 
executive  meddling.   The  definition  of  what  constitutes  a 
"political"  case  is  broadly  interpreted  by  the  Government  but 
usually  relates  to  the  Government's  preoccupation  with 
internal  security  or  alleged  political  opposition.   Prisoners 
cleared  of  charges  or  whose  terms  have  been  completed  may  not 
be  promptly  released  from  prison. 

While  the  Supreme  Court  is  at  the  apex  of  the  judicial  system, 
other  judicial  bodies  include  a  Supreme  Court  Council,  a 
Worker's  Control  Committee,  and  military  courts  in  contested 
areas.   Since  the  1974  revolution,  the  kebeles  (urban 
neighborhood  organizations  controlled  by  the  WPE)  have  been 
the  primary  local  units  of  judicial  decisionmaking  and  law 
enforcement.   In  recent  years,  their  role  has  been  reduced 
somewhat  (except  for  conscription  drives),  but  the  kebeles 
still  inspire  fear  owing  to  their  past  influence  and  their 
official  status  in  the  government/party  structure. 

In  1990,  in  two  separate  5-month  trials  before  the 
specially-constituted  military  tribunals,  the  Government  tried 
14  generals  and  22  lower-ranking  officers  implicated  in  the 
1989  coup  attempt.   In  the  early  trial  stages,  the  accused 


118 


ETHIOPIA 

were  permitted  legal  counsel,  and  the  proceedings  were  open  to 
the  press  and  family  members  of  the  accused.   However,  the 
court  proceedings  were  held  in  secret  once  the  evidentiary 
stage  was  reached,  and  some  reports  indicate  that  a  third 
trial  for  other  coup  suspects  may  have  been  held  entirely  in 
secret.   President  Mengistu  reportedly  intervened  to  insist  on 
death  sentences  for  12  of  the  14  generals.   The  executions 
were  carried  out  secretly,  and  the  12  were  allegedly  tortured 
before  their  executions. 

f .  Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 
Correspondence 

The  1987  Constitution  provides  for  the  "inviolability  of  the 
house"  and  protects  against  unlawful  entry  into  private 
homes.   In  reality,  warrants  are  not  used  for  searches  of 
offices  or  private  homes.   In  Eritrea,  Tigray,  and  other 
war-torn  areas,  the  state  of  emergency  affords  the  armed 
forces  great  latitude  in  searching  or  even  confiscating 
suspected  premises.   In  their  own  areas  of  control,  rebels 
also  use  such  tactics. 

Surveillance  of  persons,  both  visual  and  electronic,  is  not 
subject  to  legal  restraints.   All  mail  is  subject  to 
government  monitoring.   Ethiopian  citizens  can  be  called  in  at 
any  time  for  questioning  by  authorities  and  for  mandatory 
kebele  meetings,  political  rallies,  or  marches.   Refusal  to 
appear  for  kebele  meetings,  however,  no  longer  results  in 
serious  sanctions. 

Local  kebele  association  officials  monitor  the  activities  of 
urban  Ethiopians;  peasant  association  leaders  perform  the  same 
function  in  the  countryside  (see  Section  6.a.).   The  scope  of 
such  surveillance  and  petty  interference  in  the  private  lives 
of  Ethiopian  citizens  depends  heavily  on  the  makeup  of  the 
individual  kebele  and  its  leadership.   In  1990  the  kebeles  had 
a  central  role  in  fulfilling  quotas  for  the  military 
conscription  campaigns. 

g.  Use  of  Excessive  Force  and  Violations  of  Humanitarian 
Law  in  Internal  Conflicts 

Civil  war  continues  as  the  primary  factor  affecting  human 
rights  in  Ethiopia.   Both  the  Government  and  the  various 
insurgent  movements,  notably  the  EPLF  and  TPLF,  have  practiced 
forced  conscription,  imprisonment  without  recourse,  violence 
against  civilian  populations,  torture,  and  extrajudicial 
killing.   Women  have  fallen  victim  to  rape  and  abuse  by 
government  and  rebel  soldiers,  as  both  sides  loot  and 
pillage.   Human  rights  monitors  accused  both  the  Government 
and  the  EPLF  of  using  civilians  as  human  shields  to  protect 
troops  and  military  installations.   These  abuses  of 
humanitarian  law  have  taken  place  under  a  declared  state  of 
emergency  and  civil  war  in  the  northern  half  of  Ethiopia. 
Sporadic,  less  intense,  violence  also  affects  areas  in  eastern 
and  western  Ethiopia.   There  are  no  reliable  estimates  of  the 
number  of  civilian  casualties  in  the  nearly  30-year-old 
conflict . 

At  the  end  of  the  year,  rebel  groups  controlled  most  of 
Eritrea,  Gonder,  Tigray,  and  Welo  regions,  that  is,  most  of 
the  north.   The  main  insurgent  groups,  the  EPLF,  TPLF,  and,  to 
some  extent  the  OLF,  are  fighting  groups  that,  like  the 
Government,  violate  humanitarian  laws  with  varying  degrees  of 
impunity,  severity,  and  cruelty.   EPLF  hit  teams  assassinated 


119 


ETHIOPIA 

WPE  officials  in  Eritrea.   The  TPLF  executed  a  local 
administrator  in  Karakore  (north  Shewa)  in  public  in  April. 
There  are  credible  reports  of  atrocities  by  OLF  insurgents 
against  civilians  of  ethnic  Amhara  origin — in  Asosa  in 
January,  and  in  east  Harerge  in  March. 

In  Eritrea,  EPLF  shells  killed  over  100  civilians  in  attacks 
on  the  Eritrean  capital  of  Asmera,  while  a  number  of  civilians 
were  killed  in  government  attacks  on  Mits'iwa.   The  EPLF 
accused  government  warplanes  of  having  singled  out  densely 
populated  neighborhoods  in  attacks  on  the  towns  of  Afabet  and 
Mits ' iwa  in  April . 

In  1990  the  Government,  fearing  a  military  collapse,  stepped 
up  its  mobilization  campaign,  recruiting  over  100,000  new 
troops  from  urban  and  rural  areas  during  the  year.   Despite 
guidance  that  the  new  recruits  be  aged  18  years  or  older,  some 
14-  to  16-year-olds  were  caught  in  the  indiscriminate  sweeps. 
The  government  call-up  also  extended  to  veterans,  retired 
police  and  security  officers,  and  reservists,  some  in  their 
50 's  and  60 's.   In  the  roundups,  some  fatalities  were 
reported.   In  at  least  two  instances  in  eastern  Ethiopia,  a 
number  of  Somali  refugees  were  included  in  the  roundups.   The 
Government  sent  the  refugees  to  the  front  in  spite  of  the  fact 
that  some  of  the  refugees  had  documents  issued  by  the  United 
Nations  High  Commissioner  of  Refugees  (UNHCR)  that  attested  to 
their  status.   Rebel  groups  also  engaged  in  forced 
conscription. 

In  one  of  the  more  egregious  acts  by  rebel  forces,  the  OLF, 
with  assistance  from  the  EPLF  and  perhaps  the  Sudanese  Army, 
attacked  the  refugee  camp  at  Asosa  in  January.   This  camp  near 
the  Sudanese  border  was  home  to  nearly  43,000  Sudanese 
refugees  who  were  forced  to  abandon  the  camp.   In  May  many 
began  arriving  in  alarming  physical  condition  at  the  Itang 
camp  in  southwestern  Ethiopia.   In  October  OLF  troops  ambushed 
a  German  aid  worker  and  his  family,  seriously  injuring  him. 
The  OLF  also  attacked  and  burned  two  UNHCR  trucks  transporting 
food  to  the  Fugnido  refugee  camp. 

Little  information  is  available  on  the  numbers  and  treatment 
of  prisoners  of  war  (POW's).   The  Government  usually  holds 
insurgents  in  jails  or  detention  centers.   The  EPLF  has  been 
holding  three  Soviet  POW's  since  early  1988  and  has  refused  to 
negotiate  their  release.   The  OLF  held  six  Cuban  medical 
workers  prisoner  for  several  months.   The  TPLF  usually 
releases  ordinary  soldiers  upon  capture,  after  disarming  them 
and  confiscating  their  footwear.   The  International  Committee 
of  the  Red  Cross  (ICRC)  remains  barred  from  access  to 
prisoners  by  both  government  and  rebel  sides.   The  Government 
has,  however,  allowed  ICRC  medical  teams  to  assist  with 
medical  treatment  of  war  wounded  in  Asmera,  Dese  (Welo),  and 
Bahir  Dar  (Gojam),  areas  that  have  seen  heavy  fighting  in  the 
last  year. 

Throughout  the  year,  both  the  Government  and  the  insurgents 
engaged  in  protracted  negotiations  with  international  and 
local  humanitarian  groups  that  delayed  badly  needed  food 
relief  shipments  to  civilians.   The  Government  has  engaged  in 
military  attacks  on  relief  shipments,  and  an  unknown  quantity 
of  relief  supplies  was  destroyed  in  the  EPLF ' s  February  attack 
on  Mits'iwa.   There  have  been  reports  of  malnutrition-related 
deaths  among  children  in  EPLF-besieged  Asmera,  but  extensive 
relief  efforts  have  prevented  a  repeat  of  the  great  famine  of 
1984-85. 


120 


ETHIOPIA 
Section  2  Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including: 

a.  Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

There  is  no  freedom  of  speech  or  press  in  Ethiopia.   The 
Government  closely  monitors  the  pronouncements  of  public 
officials,  academicians,  and  clergy.   Academic  freedom, 
although  seriously  circumscribed,  may  have  gained  some  new 
life  in  1990  as  courses  in  Marxism-Leninism  were  no  longer 
required  after  the  reforms  announced  in  March. 

The  Government  owns  and  operates  all  information  media  and 
maintains  censorship  boards  under  the  Ministry  of 
Information.   Expression  of  unauthorized  political  opinions  or 
of  views  at  variance  with  the  official  government  line  has 
resulted  in  imprisonment.   Self-censorship  is  a  fact  of  life. 
Only  governmental  political,  economic,  and  social  policies  are 
disseminated  in  the  official  media.   In  1990,  in  the  wake  of 
military  defeats,  government  media  stressed  the  struggle  for  a 
united  Ethiopia.   Coverage  of  the  civil  war  itself  remains 
tightly  controlled  and  is  centered  around  continuous  calls  to 
arms  and  sacrifice  in  defense  of  the  motherland. 

In  October  Ethiopian  television  aired  the  first  part  of  a 
two-part  interview  by  a  well-known  professor  and  outspoken 
government  critic,  who  found  fault  with  the  Government's 
handling  of  the  war.   The  last  part  of  the  interview  was 
canceled. 

Several  citizens  expressed  an  interest  in  starting  new, 
independent  publications  since  the  announcement  of  the  March 
economic  reforms.   The  Government  did  not,  however,  respond  to 
their  applications  for  permission  to  publish. 

Foreign  magazines  and  newspapers  are  not  readily  available 
since  foreign  exchange  is  not  granted  to  purchase  them. 
Occasionally,  publications  are  confiscated.   Foreign  radio 
transmissions  and  broadcasts  of  the  opposition  groups  are 
widely  listened  to  by  Ethiopians.   Western  embassy  news 
releases,  statements,  books,  magazines,  and  other  media 
material  are  generally  allowed  to  circulate  without  censorship. 

b.  Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

Notwithstanding  constitutional  provisions,  assembly  of  any 
sort  not  previously  approved  by  the  Government  is  severely 
restricted.   In  contrast,  attendance  at  government-sponsored 
rallies,  meetings,  and  parades  is  frequently  mandatory. 
Frequent  or  close  association  with  foreigners  no  longer 
results  in  government  harassment  or  detention.   Professional 
associations,  such  as  the  Rotary  and  Lions  Clubs,  are  allowed 
to  operate,  although  their  membership  and  activities  may  be 
monitored  by  the  Government.   Trade  and  professional 
associations  were  reorganized  in  1986  by  the  WPE  and  new 
boards  selected  from  members  approved  by  the  party. 

In  May,  3  days  of  student  demonstrations  followed  the 
Government's  execution  of  12  generals  implicated  in  the  coup 
attempt.   The  students  confined  their  action  to  the  area 
around  Addis  Ababa  University  and  adjacent  secondary  schools. 
They  burned  President  Mengistu's  effigy,  shouted  slogans 
demanding  a  change  of  government,  and  carried  signs  denouncing 
the  Government's  "shameful"  behavior.   The  protest  ended  when 
students  were  rounded  up  and  held  in  a  police  training  camp 
for  about  a  week.   Unlike  demonstrations  in  May  1989,  no  one 


121 


ETHIOPIA 

was  killed,  but  there  were  reports  of  a  few  serious  injuries 
(see  Section  i.e.). 

c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

Ethiopian  nationalism  and  traditional  values,  including 
religion,  are  an  integral  part  of  the  national  culture. 
Government  policy  no  longer  ignores  or  tries  to  suppress 
religion.   The  Government  nationalized  most  property 
controlled  by  the  Ethiopian  Orthodox  Church  (EOC) — thought  to 
include  as  much  as  30  percent  of  all  land  holdings  in  Ethiopia 
at  the  time — when  it  took  power  in  1974,  and  the  EOC 
reportedly  is  dependent  on  annual  government  compensation 
payments  to  cover  clerical  salaries.   The  Government  actively 
participates  in  selection  of  EOC  officials  to  ensure  church 
conformity  with  its  policies.   The  Government  extensively  used 
the  EOC  in  1990  as  a  conduit  for  its  national  mobilization 
message  to  the  lowest  levels  of  society. 

The  Government  has  been  increasingly  willing  to  permit  worship 
and  proselytism  by  Muslims  and  Ethiopian  Orthodox  Christians. 
Protestant  churches,  including  Ethiopia's  Mekane  Yesus  Church 
and  foreign  evangelical  organizations,  pursue  their  missions 
in  a  generally  tolerant  environment  and  are  increasingly 
praised  for  their  social  and  humanitarian  works.   However,  the 
Jehovah's  Witnesses  remained  banned.   An  official  ban  on 
worship  by  government  officials  is  not  enforced.   Officials 
still  occasionally  schedule  mandatory  kebele  meetings  on 
Sunday  mornings  but  do  little  else  actively  to  discourage 
church  attendance. 

d.  Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

Freedom  of  movement  within  Ethiopia  was  hindered  mostly  by  the 
expansion  of  control  by  rebel  groups  to  most  of  Eritrea, 
Gonder ,  Tigray,  and  Welo.   While  there  have  been  recent 
Western  visitors  to  Gonder,  areas  in  the  northern  half  of 
Ethiopia  remain  inaccessible  to  foreigners.   Foreigners 
wishing  to  travel  within  Ethiopia  must  still  obtain  travel 
permits,  and  access  to  areas  of  conflict  remains  restricted. 
Despite  occasional  delays,  the  permit  process  has  become 
largely  a  formality  for  foreign  diplomats. 

Emigration  remains  highly  restricted,  though  marriage  to,  or 
adoption  by,  foreign  nationals  is  allowed.   Illegal  emigration 
remains  punishable  by  imprisonment  or,  in  exceptional  cases, 
by  death.   However,  with  the  resurgent  war,  increasing  numbers 
of  Ethiopians  from  all  levels  of  society  emigrate  illegally, 
either  under  the  subterfuge  of  travel  abroad  for  business  or 
to  visit  relatives  or  by  overland  treks  and  surreptitious 
crossing  of  borders. 

The  Government  issued  a  record  number  of  passports  in  1990, 
continuing  a  trend  begun  in  1989.   A  daughter  and  two 
grandchildren  of  former  Emperor  Haile  Selassie  received 
passports  and  were  allowed  to  travel  abroad.   They  had  been 
released  from  prison  in  1988.   The  process  can  be  arbitrary, 
however,  with  few  if  any  issuances  to  males  between  14  and  45 
years  of  age  during  periods  of  conscription.   Even  during 
these  clampdowns,  passports  were  reportedly  available  for 
bribes  of  up  to  $3,500.   The  processing  of  legitimate  passport 
applications  nevertheless  remains  a  long  and  laborious 
process.   Exit  visas  must  be  used  within  15  days  of  issue  and 
renewal  can  be  difficult. 


122 


ETHIOPIA 

Restrictions  on  emigration  have  made  the  plight  of  Ethiopia's 
22 , 000-strong  Jewish  population  an  urgent  human  rights 
concern.   The  community,  known  as  Beta  Israel  but  often 
referred  to  by  other  Ethiopians  as  "Falashas"  (a  word  meaning 
immigrant  or  outsider),  has  traditionally  been  concentrated  in 
rural  areas  o€  Gonder  and  Tigray.   During  the  past  year, 
however,  most  have  abandoned  their  former  habitat  and  traveled 
to  Addis  Ababa  to  await  permission  to  emigrate  to  Israel. 

The  Government  has  stated  publicly  its  commitment  to  free 
emigration  for  family  reunification  among  Ethiopia's  Jewish 
population.   Departures  in  the  spring  briefly  reached  500 
people  a  month  before  the  Government  erected  procedural 
impediments  that  reduced  the  figure  by  more  than  two-thirds. 
However,  an  agreement  between  Israel  and  Ethiopia  reached  in 
November  increased  emigration  to  earlier  levels. 

Around  22,000  Falashas  are  registered  with  the  Israeli  Embassy 
in  Addis  Ababa  awaiting  emigration.   In  the  meantime,  the 
Jews,  having  given  up  their  homes  in  the  countryside  (which 
were  immediately  taken  over  by  their  non-Jewish  neighbors), 
face  exorbitant  prices  for  scarce  housing  and  rising  prices 
for  food  in  Addis  Ababa.   As  a  result  of  reestablished 
relations  between  Israel  and  Ethiopia,  their  situation  has 
been  ameliorated  to  a  great  extent  through  assistance  from  the 
Israeli  Government  and  from  Israeli  and  American  Jewish 
philanthropic  groups.   Ethiopian  authorities  have  not 
prevented  these  organizations  from  establishing  health  and 
education  facilities  for  the  Jewish  population.   The  United 
States  Government  continues  to  press  the  Government  of 
Ethiopia  to  put  into  practice  its  stated  commitment  to  the 
principle  of  free  emigration. 

The  Government  recognizes  the  right  of  voluntary  repatriation, 
and  its  proclamation  of  amnesty  for  Ethiopians  living  abroad 
(numbering  more  than  1  million)  remains  in  effect.   UNHCR 
repatriation  programs  have  successfully  repatriated 
approximately  16,000  Ethiopians  from  Djibouti,  Somalia,  and 
Sudan  since  1986.   During  1990,  the  Government  cooperated, 
with  UNHCR  and  ICRC,  in  the  repatriation  of  approximately 
4,000  refugees  from  Borama,  Somalia.   There  were  no  reports  of 
any  forcible  repatriation  of  refugees  by  the  Government. 

Instability  in  neighboring  countries  has  stimulated  a 
large-scale  refugee  movement  into  remote  areas  of  Ethiopia, 
with  approximately  750,000  people  fleeing  from  both  Somalia 
and  Sudan.   The  Government's  Administration  for  Refugee 
Affairs  (ARA) ,  under  the  Ministry  of  Internal  Affairs,  has 
been  cooperative  with  the  UNHCR  and  other  international 
agencies,  and  it  generally  adheres  to  international  norms  for 
refugees.   Refugee  protection,  though,  is  problematic.   Areas 
between  Ethiopia,  Sudan,  and  Somalia  which  house  refugees 
remain  sites  of  recruiting  efforts  by  the  various  liberation 
fronts  operating  within  and  across  the  borders.   The 
Government  has  not  allowed  24-hour  access  to  refugee  camps  by 
international  relief  workers,  arguing  that  their  security 
cannot  be  guaranteed. 

While  no  official  announcements  were  made,  the  Government's 
controversial  internal  resettlement  and  villagization 
campaigns  have  ceased  with  the  announced  plans  to  return 
agriculture  to  a  free  market  basis  and  to  allow  peasants  to 
till  the  land  they  now  occupy.   Rural  authorities  have  not 
prevented  peasants  from  returning  to  their  traditional 
homesteads.   Most  of  those  forced  to  resettle  came  from  areas 


123 


ETHIOPIA 

of  Welo  and  Tigray  and  could  probably  return  to  their  home 
lands  but  for  the  war . 

Section  3  Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  their  Government 

Citizens  of  Ethiopia  are  not  free  to  change  the  government. 
The  Constitution  institutionalizes  all  power  in  the  WPE,  the 
President,  his  advisers,  and  the  33-member  Council  of  State. 
Political  and  economic  policies  are  still  dictated  to  the 
populace  with  little  opportunity  for  public  debate.   The  WPE 
and  its  mass  organizations  purport  to  offer  Ethiopian  citizens 
a  means  of  participation  in  government.   Official  pressure  on 
higher  level  government  officials  to  join  the  WPE  has  eased  in 
recent  years,  however,  and  many  members  of  the  bureaucracy 
have  declined  party  membership  without  an  adverse  effect  on 
their  careers. 

President  Mengistu's  March  speech  dealt  mainly  with  economic 
reform,  but  it  made  passing  reference  to  the  creation  of  a 
new,  inclusive,  voluntary,  and  democratic  party,  the  Ethiopian 
Democratic  Unity  Party.   However,  by  year's  end  the  Government 
had  taken  no  steps  to  implement  political  reform. 

The  Constitution  mandates  the  formation  of  local  parliaments 
(shengos)  in  the  25  administrative  regions  and  the  5 
autonomous  regions.   However,  the  massive  mobilization  of  1990 
brought  a  new  division  of  the  country  into  seven  "zones," 
presided  over  by  high-ranking  military  officials  or  Mengistu 
civilian  supporters.   These  new  zonal  commanders  have  been 
given  wide  latitude  over  all  activities,  military  and  civil, 
in  their  respective  areas  of  control.   They  report  directly  to 
President  Mengistu  in  Addis  Ababa.   Local  elections  and 
elaborate  plans  for  the  autonomous  regions  of  Aseb,  Dire  Dawa, 
Eritrea,  the  Ogaden,  and  Tigray,  intended  to  solidify  WPE 
authority  and  politicize  the  populace,  have  fallen  victim  to 
the  war . 

Section  4   Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

There  is  no  governmental  or  private  body  to  investigate 
alleged  human  rights  violations,  and  it  is  unlikely  the 
Government  would  permit  an  independent  group  to  form.   The 
Government  resists  attempts  by  international  and 
nongovernmental  organizations  to  investigate  human  rights 
cases . 

Section  5   Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

The  Constitution  provides  for  the  equality  of  all  Ethiopians 
irrespective  of  nationality,  sex,  religion,  occupation,  social 
or  other  status.   High  government  offices  are  no  longer  the 
exclusive  province  of  the  Amhara  ethnic  group  and  include  many 
Oromos  and  a  few  Eritreans  and  Tigrayans.   Almost  all  senior 
government  and  political  figures  are  of  Christian  origin, 
although  the  population  is  approximately  50  percent  Muslim. 
The  Government's  appeal  to  Ethiopian  nationalism  in  its 
struggle  against  the  EPLF  and  TPLF  has  resulted  in  cases  of 
harassment  and  pressure  tactics  against  those  of  ethnic 
Eritrean  and  Tigrayan  origin.   This  is  not,  however,  believed 
to  be  part  of  a  systematic  campaign  by  the  Government. 


124 


ETHIOPIA 

The  rights  of  women  are  protected  and  promised  additional 
government  support  by  the  Constitution.   However,  various  U.N. 
studies  indicate  traditional  practices  persist,  including 
marriages  at  very  young  ages,  hard  and  time-consuming  labor, 
inadequate  employment  opportunities,  and  subaverage  wages  in 
urban  areas. 

Village  leadership,  both  traditionally  and  in  the  rural  party 
apparatus,  is  invariably  male,  and  all  clergy  are  male. 
However,  women  in  major  Ethiopian  groups  (Oromo,  Amhara, 
Eritrean,  and  Tigrayan)  enjoy  certain  economic  and  legal 
rights  equal  to  those  of  men.   They  may  inherit,  sell,  or  buy 
property,  and  many  engage  actively  in  business.   However, 
women  remain  poorly  represented  at  the  top  echelons  of 
government . 

The  Revolutionary  Women's  Association  (REWA) ,  a  mass 
organization  created  in  1980,  has  the  proclaimed  goal  of 
improving  the  status  of  women.   Problems  with  money, 
membership,  and  political  priorities  have  forced  REWA  to  take 
a  back  seat  to  coordinated  ministerial  and  international 
organization  efforts  in  bettering  the  lot  of  women  in 
Ethiopia.   The  media  give  ample  coverage  to  conferences  and 
other  events  which  concern  women. 

Neither  the  Government  nor  REWA  has  specifically  addressed  the 
issue  of  domestic  violence,  but  Ethiopian  women  have  redress 
to  police  protection  if  subjected  to  beatings  by  husbands. 
However,  such  abuse  remains  common,  with  tremendous  cultural 
impediments  to  police  interference  or  the  official  prosecution 
of  instances  of  domestic  violence.   Compliant  attitudes  add  to 
sexual  discrimination  as  many  Ethiopian  women  may  choose  to 
remain  cowed  by  abuse,  rather  than  face  the  loss  of  economic 
and  social  security  that  marriage  affords  in  Ethiopia.   Among 
urban,  mostly  elite  Ethiopian  women,  divorce  and  desertion  are 
increasing.   In  some  rural  areas,  women  have  a  subservient 
status  within  the  home,  and  child  marriages  are  especially 
common,  despite  government  efforts  to  curb  such  practices. 

The  Government,  in  conjunction  with  international 
organizations,  has  actively  pursued  educational  efforts, 
warning  women  of  the  dangers  of  female  circumcision  (including 
inf ibulation) ,  nutritional  taboos,  and  traditional  birth 
methods.   The  Ministry  of  Public  Health  has  established  a 
National  Committee  on  Traditional  Practices,  composed  of 
representatives  of  various  government  ministries,  religious 
groups,  and  international  agencies,  to  help  educate  and  train 
health  and  social  workers  to  combat  these  practices. 
Initially  reluctant  religious  groups,  including  the  Ethiopian 
Orthodox  Church  and  the  Muslim  supreme  council,  now  actively 
discuss — and  discourage — female  circumcision.   These  efforts 
often  coincide  with  AIDS  education  targeted  at  both  urban  and 
rural  groups. 

Section  6  Worker  Rights 

a.   The  Right  of  Association 

There  is  no  independent  labor  movement  in  Ethiopia.   The  labor 
force  (outside  agriculture)  is  organized  into  a  single  trade 
union  federation  under  the  control  of  the  WPE .   The  right  to 
strike  is  not  recognized,  and  strikes  are  rare. 

The  Ethiopian  Trade  Union  (ETU) ,  founded  in  1975  to  replace 
the  Confederation  of  Ethiopian  Labor  Unions  (CELU),  is  the 


125 


ETHIOPIA 

sole  federation  to  which  all  trade  unions  must  belong.   Union 
jurisdiction  is  based  on  work  sectors,  and  there  are  nine 
industrial  unions  in  the  ETU.   Only  one  union  is  permitted  per 
work  site.   The  approximately  370  local  unions  in  the  ETU 
comprise  318,000  members  (1988).   Structured  along  traditional 
Soviet  lines  and  with  many  leaders  trained  in  Eastern  Europe, 
the  ETU ' s  range  of  permissible  activities  has  now  shrunk  to 
the  point  where  it  is  little  more  than  a  "transmission  belt," 
carrying  to  workers  the  message  of  the  government  and  party 
leadership.   The  right  to  affiliate  internationally  is 
recognized  exclusively  for  the  ETU.   The  ETU  is  a  member  of 
Africa's  continent-wide  official  trade  union  body,  the 
Organization  of  African  Trade  Union  Unity,  and  is  affiliated 
with  the  Communist-controlled  World  Federation  of  Trade  Unions. 

Agricultural  workers  are  organized  under  the  Ethiopian 
Peasants'  Association  (EPA),  which  officially  has  between  4 
and  7  million  members.   The  EPA  is  an  umbrella  organization  of 
some  20,000  small  peasants'  associations.   In  addition  to 
being  an  implement  of  Governinent  control,  the  EPA  has  promoted 
literacy  and  advances  agricultural  techniques.   In  some  areas 
the  local  peasants'  associations  have  had  tax  collection  and 
militia  responsibilities.   Local  peasants'  associations  bore 
the  brunt  of  rural  discontent  during  1990.   In  areas  of 
Harerge,  some  peasant  leaders  were  forcibly  removed,  even 
killed,  by  farmers  seeking  a  return  of  property  confiscated 
during  the  land  reform  of  the  late  1970 's.   Approximately  400 
producer  cooperatives  in  the  Bale  and  Arsi  regions  have  shut 
down  over  the  last  2  years  as  a  result  of  farmer  discontent. 
There  has  been  no  official  reaction  to  these  events  from  the 
Government . 

Despite  the  guarantee  of  freedom  of  association  in  the  1987 
Constitution,  workers  and  farmers  are  not  permitted  to 
organize  outside  of  the  ETU  and  the  EPA.   The  EPA  is  not  a 
trade  union  and  is  not  covered  under  the  1975  labor  code, 
which  was  drafted  with  the  assistance  of  Cuban  experts. 

The  Committee  of  Experts  of  the  International  Labor 
Organization  (ILO)  has  criticized  Ethiopia's  1975  Labor 
Proclamation  as  being  contrary  to  ILO  Convention  87  on  freedom 
of  association  and  Convention  98  on  the  right  to  organize  and 
bargain  collectively,  both  of  which  Ethiopia  has  ratified.   A 
new  labor  code,  written  in  1987  after  extensive  consultations 
with  the  ILO,  would  permit  collective  bargaining  and  allow 
national  unions  to  form  their  own  federations — independent  of 
the  WPE .   However,  the  new  code  has  not  been  passed  due  to 
reported  resistance  at  high  levels  of  the  Government. 

b.   The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

Ethiopia  signed  894  collective  bargaining  conventions  between 
1984  and  1986.   However,  collective  bargaining  does  not  in 
fact  exist  in  Ethiopia's  public  sector.   Ethiopia  allows 
private  enterprise,  though  government  control  over  supply 
allocations  and  its  strict  licensing  procedures  ensure  state 
enterprises  a  virtual  monopoly  in  areas  such  as  coffee. 
Private  sector  wages  are  independent  of  the  Government's 
official  tiered  wage  system.   The  Ministry  of  Labor  and  Social 
Affairs  has  official  responsibility  for  ratifying  any 
collective  bargaining  agreements  and  for  adjudicating  wage 
disputes  in  the  private  sector.   While  there  is  no  antiunion 
discrimination  policy,  ETU's  monopoly  on  worker  membership  has 
been  criticized  by  the  ILO. 


126 


ETHIOPIA 
There  are  no  export  processing  zones. 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

Ethiopia  has  ratified  neither  of  the  ILO's  Conventions  on 
forced  labor.   Slavery  was  officially  abolished  in  Ethiopia  in 
1942,  but  other  than  this  the  legal  code  does  not  address  the 
issue  of  forced  or  compulsory  labor.   The  Constitution 
mentions  both  the  right  to  work  and  the  duty  to  work. 
Citizens  are  sometimes  called  on  to  perform  certain  civic 
obligations,  including  "volunteer"  assistance  in  community 
work  projects  such  as  road-building  and  emergency  repair.   In 
factories,  workers  are  also  expected  to  volunteer  extra  hours 
at  no  pay,  so  production  quotas  can  be  met. 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

The  contract  employment  of  persons  under  the  age  of  14  is 
prohibited.   This  restriction  appears  to  be  respected  in 
factories,  shops,  and  among  domestic  workers.   The  Ministry  of 
Labor  and  Social  Affairs  is  fairly  effective  in  enforcing 
child  labor  restrictions.   However,  underaged  children  are 
frequently  seen  selling  or  begging  on  city  streets  or  working 
in  the  fields  in  rural  areas. 

e.  Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

Current  working  conditions  vary  according  to  occupation  and 
region,  but  hours  are  generally  long,  conditions  poor,  and 
wages  low.   The  statutory  minimum  wage,  which  has  not  changed 
in  16  years,  is  93  cents  per  day  (at  the  official  rate  of 
exchange)  and  is  not  sufficient  to  provide  a  decent  standard 
of  living  for  an  urban  worker  and  family.   On  the  other  hand, 
only  unskilled  day  laborers  usually  command  such  a  low  wage. 
In  addition,  fringe  benefits  not  required  by  law 
(transportation,  meals,  shelter)  raise  the  effective  minimum 
wage.   Low-paid  workers  often  supplement  their  income  by 
holding  multiple  jobs,  with  help  from  the  extended  family,  and 
with  subsistence  farming. 

Government  wages  have  been  frozen  for  15  years.   Internal 
government  surveys  reveal  that  perhaps  two  out  of  every  five 
salaried  government  workers  earn  less  than  what  is  required  to 
purchase  a  typical  Ethiopian  "grocery  basket" .   The  law 
establishes  8-hour  workdays  and  48-hour  workweeks.   The 
maximum  legal  workweek  is  generally  respected  in  practice,  but 
as  noted  there  is  much  uncompensated  "volunteer"  labor  to  meet 
factory  or  office  quotas. 

The  current  Labor  Code's  miscellaneous  provisions  section 
gives  the  Minister  of  Labor  and  Social  Affairs  powers  "to 
determine  protective  devices"  and  to  "establish  an  advisory 
committee"  with  regard  to  the  health  and  safety  of  workers. 
Compensation  for  occupational  injuries  and  disabilities  is 
mandatory.   The  Ministry's  effectiveness  in  enforcing  health 
and  safety  standards  is  hampered  by  a  lack  of  resources. 


127 


GABON 


President  Omar  Bongo  has  ruled  Gabon  since  1967.   He  has  been 
reelected  three  times  in  uncontested  elections,  most  recently 
in  November  1986  as  head  of  the  Democratic  Party  of  Gabon 
(PDG),  which  was  then  the  sole  legal  political  party. 
Responding  to  internal  pressures,  he  took  a  number  of 
significant  steps  in  1990  to  implement  a  multiparty  system. 
Following  a  sequence  of  demonstrations  and  strikes  in  the 
first  3  months  of  1990,  he  permitted  a  process  of  political 
liberalization  to  begin  in  March/April  with  the  convocation  of 
a  national  convention  in  Libreville.   Seventy-four  political 
associations  participated,  along  with  the  ruling  PDG,  in  a 
debate  on  Gabon's  political  future.   In  response  to  the 
recommendations  prepared  by  convention  delegates,  the 
President  appointed  in  April  an  interim  cabinet  of  29 
members — including  6  from  opposition  groups — to  oversee  the 
transition  from  a  single-party  to  a  multiparty  system.   In 
October  elections  were  held  for  a  new  multiparty  legislature 
which  resulted  in  the  PDG  winning  59  seats  out  of  120.   The 
National  Assembly  has  not  had  real  power  in  the  past,  but  the 
newly  elected  Assembly  has  exhibited  a  degree  of  independence 
by  confronting  and  criticizing  the  Government.   In  response  to 
a  recommendation  from  the  national  convention.  President  Bongo 
announced  that  presidential  elections  will  not  be  held  until 
1993,  when  his  current  7-year  term  expires. 

The  armed  forces  are  comprised  of  approximately  4,000  army, 
navy,  and  air  force  personnel.   Internal  security  is  shared  by 
the  Gendarmerie,  a  paramilitary  force  of  2,700,  and  the 
National  Police,  consisting  of  2,000  troops,  which  works  with 
the  Gendarmerie  to  maintain  law  and  order  in  Libreville,  Port 
Gentil,  and  other  provincial  capitals.   The  security  forces 
use  beatings  as  part  of  the  interrogation  process. 

Gabon's  relatively  high  per  capita  income  ($3,200  in  1990)  is 
based  largely  on  oil  revenues,  but  it  belies  the 
underdeveloped  nature  of  the  country  and  its  economy. 
Although  endowed  with  petroleum,  manganese,  uranium,  and  vast 
timber  resources,  Gabon  has  experienced  limited  agricultural 
and  industrial  development  and  must  import  most  of  its  food 
and  manufactured  goods.   Rain  forest  covers  85  percent  of  the 
country,  and  approximately  two-thirds  of  the  populace  live  in 
rural  areas.   Due  to  the  precipitous  fall  in  revenue  from  oil 
exports  in  the  late  1980 's,  the  Government  has  imposed 
austerity  measures  to  meet  World  Bank  and  International 
Monetary  Fund  program  criteria.   A  massive  onshore  oil  field 
discovered  in  southern  Gabon  should  boost  petroleum  output  by 
50  percent  by  1991 . 

Despite  important  steps  toward  a  more  open  political  system, 
human-rights  abuses  continued  in  1990.   Principal  problems 
included  mistreatment  of  prisoners  and  detainees  and  lack  of 
procedural  safeguards  in  State  Security  Court  trials.   With 
the  move  toward  a  multiparty  political  system,  restrictions  on 
freedoms  of  speech,  press,  and  assembly  were  considerably 
relaxed.   Gabon  now  enjoys  a  lively  and  critical  print  media 
with  some  half  dozen  weekly  newspapers  in  addition  to  the 
government-sponsored  newspaper,  L'Union.   During  legislative 
electoral  campaigns  in  September/October,  L'Union  and  the 
government-controlled  television  and  radio  provided  in-depth 
coverage,  including  activities  of  opposition  groups.   However, 
the  firing  of  the  L'Union  managing  editor  in  late  September, 
allegedly  for  graating  too  much  access  to  the  opposition,  had 
a  chilling  effect  on  the  paper's  staff  for  a  short  time. 


128 

GABON 

RESPECT  FOR  HUMAN  RIGHTS 

Section  1  Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.  Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

There  were  no  known  political  killings  or  summary  executions 
in  1990.   The  death  of  Joseph  Rendjambe  in  a  Libreville  Hotel 
in  May  was  alleged  by  his  political  followers  to  have  been 
engineered  by  the  Government,  but  pathological  and 
toxicological  analyses  conducted  by  a  respected  French  medical 
institution  reportedly  did  not  identify  any  unnatural  cause 
for  Rendjambe 's  death.   Two  persons  arrested  in  conjunction 
with  a  foiled  assassination/coup  plot  in  late  1989 
subseqxiently  died  while  in  custody.   According  to  the 
Government,  one  died  from  malaria  and  the  other  from  a 
combination  of  diabetes  and  hypertension.   No  independent 
medical  confirmation  of  the  causes  of  death  was  made  available, 

b.  Disappearance 

There  were  no  known  cases  of  abductions  or  disappearances 
ascribed  to  government  security  forces  or  any  other  group. 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment 

Gabonese  law  and  security  enforcement  officials  use  beatings 
as  part  of  the  interrogation  process  of  detainees,  including 
illegal  aliens  from  neighboring  countries.   Security  personnel 
are  rarely  punished  for  human  rights  abuses.    No  specific 
incidents  were  reported  in  1990. 

Prison  conditions  are  harsh,  and  the  main  prison.  Central 
Prison,  has  poor  hygiene,  inadequate  medical  facilities,  and 
insufficient  food. 

d.  Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

Although  the  law,  based  on  French  jurisprudence,  provides 
procedural  protections  against  arbitrary  detention,  it  allows 
for  pretrial  detention,  which  can  be  for  a  prolonged  period. 
Security  forces  have  been  known  to  disregard  the  procedures 
concerning  arbitrary  detention,  particularly  in  security 
cases,  by  detaining  persons  indefinitely  without  charge.   The 
only  known  political  detainees  or  prisoners  held  during  1990 
were  14  persons  arrested  following  revelations  of  two  alleged 
coup  plots  in  October  1989.   Pending  completion  of  the 
investigation,  the  14  were  held  without  access  to  their 
families,  though  they  did  have  access  to  legal  representation 
in  the  immediate  pretrial  phase. 

Exile  is  not  used  as  a  means  of  political  control  nor  as  a 
sentence  for  convicted  criminals.   A  number  of  opposition 
figures  such  as  Pere  Mba  Abessole,  leader  of  the  Morena 
Bucheron  party,  have  returned  in  recent  years. 

e.  Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

The  judicial  system,  modeled  on  the  French,  has  several 
levels.   The  trial  court  (Tribunal  de  Premier  Instance)  hears 
questions  of  fact  and  law  in  civil,  commercial,  ordinary 
criminal,  and  administrative  cases.   The  appellate  level  is 
divided  into  two  courts,  with  a  separate  appeals  court  for 


129 


GABON 

criminal  cases.   The  highest  level,  the  Supreme  Court,  has 
four  chambers.   Outside  the  normal  court  system,  there  is  a 
military  tribunal  to  handle  all  offenses  under  military  law,  a 
State  Security  Court,  which  is  a  civilian  tribunal,  and  a 
special  criminal  court  which  deals  with  fraud  and  embezzlement 
of  public  funds  by  officials. 

The  right  to  a  fair  public  trial  is  provided  for  in  the 
Constitution  and  generally  has  been  respected  in  criminal 
cases,  but  important  procedural  safeguards  are  lacking  in 
State  Security  Court  trials.   State  Security  Court  trials  are 
open  to  the  public,  and  defendants  are  represented  by  counsel, 
with  the  right  to  appeal  to  the  Supreme  Court  or,  if  turned 
down  by  the  Supreme  Court,  to  the  President.   However,  court 
officials  are  appointed  by  the  President,  who  can  also 
transfer  and  dismiss  them  by  decree. 

Although  the  judiciary  is  susceptible  to  intervention  by  the 
executive,  particularly  in  political  or  security  cases,  there 
was  no  indication  that  such  intervention  occurred  in  1990. 
The  Government  gave  no  explanation  regarding  the  delay  in 
bringing  to  trial  the  14  arrested  for  the  1989  coup  attempt. 
The  14  were  tried  in  two  groups  in  November  and  December  in 
the  State  Security  Court.   The  trials  were  open  to  the  press 
and  public,  and  were  covered  extensively  by  the  government 
controlled  media,  including  partial  trial  transcripts  in  the 
newspaper  and  lengthy  television  reports.   In  both  trials  the 
two  principal  defendants  were  sentenced  to  8  and  6  years 
respectively;  the  others  were  acquitted.   Twenty-four  others 
who  had  been  arrested  in  connection  with  the  coup  were 
released  in  1990  after  appearing  before  the  State  Security 
Court. 

f.   Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 
Correspondence 

Search  warrants  may  be  obtained  after  the  fact  but,  as 
occasionally  happens  in  cases  of  suspected  illegal  aliens, 
sometimes  they  are  not  obtained  at  all.   There  were  credible 
reports  that  in  many  cases  the  homes  of  those  detained  were 
ransacked  by  security  forces  who  confiscated  personal 
effects.   The  Government  periodically  monitors 

communications.   Membership  in  Gabon's  former  single  political 
party,  the  PDG,  is  not  mandatory,  but  it  has  enhanced 
opportunities  for  political  and  career  advancement. 

Section  2   Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including: 

a.   Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

With  the  move  toward  a  multiparty  system,  freedom  of  speech 
and  press  have  been  significantly  enhanced.   While  direct 
public  criticism  of  the  President  previously  had  not  been 
permitted,  during  the  national  convention  and  the  legislative 
election  campaign  Gabonese  opposition  leaders  criticized  the 
President  directly  and  indirectly,  with  no  known  retribution. 
Although  public  media — radio,  television,  and  the  daily 
newspaper  L'Union — are  controlled  by  the  Ministry  of 
Information  and  disseminate  government  views  and  communiques, 
there  was  widespread  coverage  of  opposition  campaigns  and 
candidates  throughout  the  electoral  period.   This  coverage 
included  frequent  and  pointed  criticism  of  the  Government  as 
well  as  the  ruling  PDG  party. 


130 


GABON 

In  addition,  lively  opposition  print  media  now  exist,  with 
some  half-dozen  weekly  newspapers  available  in  the  capital. 
The  established  media  carry  wire  service  material  (mostly 
Agence  France  Presse)  which  gives  the  public  some  coverage  of 
world  events.   The  President  has  encouraged  journalists  to 
point  out  failures  of  individual  government  officials  or 
ministries  and  to  highlight  inefficiency  and  corruption. 
There  was  one  instance  in  1990  when  an  issue  of  the 
Paris-based  magazine  Jeune  Afrique  was  banned  because  of  an 
article  concerning  Rendjambe's  death. 

Academic  freedom  is  relatively  unrestricted.   In  1990 
university  students  engaged  in  protests  against  the 
administration's  financial  mismanagement  that  has  resulted  in 
a  lack  of  funds  for  scholarships  and  the  deteriorating 
physical  plant  at  the  university  campus  in  Libreville. 

b.  Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

The  Government  limits  freedom  of  assembly  and  association  to 
recognized  organizations — including  74  recognized  opposition 
political  associations.   Permits  and  notification  of  police 
are  required  for  all  outdoor  meetings.   The  Government 
generally  permits  such  meetings  only  if  they  are  organized  by 
recognized  political  groups  (and  their  ancillary  units  such  as 
the  women's,  youth,  and  labor  movements),  cultural  and 
entertainment  impresarios,  or  recognized  church  groups.   By 
law,  demonstrations  are  not  permitted,  but  there  were  numerous 
demonstrations  in  the  first  half  of  1990  for  which  organizers 
and  participants  went  unpunished. 

c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

There  is  no  state  religion,  and  the  Constitution  provides  for 
religious  freedom.   Because  their  activities  were  considered 
by  the  Government  as  fostering  disunity,  Jehovah's  Witnesses 
and  several  small  syncretistic  sects  were  banned  by 
Presidential  decree  in  1970.   The  decree  was  renewed  in  1985. 
As  recently  as  1987,  the  courts  sentenced  24  Jehovah's 
Witnesses  to  short  or  suspended  terms  for  belonging  to  a 
banned  organization.   The  primary  faiths  are  Catholic  and 
Protestant.   There  are  a  few  Muslims  (including  President 
Bongo)  and  numerous  adherents  to  traditional  religions. 
Foreign  missionaries,  including  Americans,  engage  actively  in 
evangelical  and  social-service  activities. 

d.  Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

Movement  of  both  Gabonese  citizens  and  expatriates  within  the 
country  is  not  formally  restricted;  travelers  occasionally 
encounter  Gendarmerie  control  points  where  identity  cards  and 
other  documents  are  examined.   Following  May  riots  in  Port 
Gentil  and  Libreville  set  off  by  the  death  of  Joseph  Rendjambe 
(see  Section  l.a.),  a  2-month  curfew  was  imposed,  first 
nationwide  and  then  for  the  Ogooue-Maritime  province  where 
Port  Gentil  is  located.   Gabonese  citizens  may  return  freely 
to  Gabon  from  abroad.   The  previous  requirement  that  Gabonese 
citizens  must  obtain  exit  permits  from  the  police  was 
rescinded  in  June,  but  government  employees  must  obtain 
permission  to  travel  abroad. 

There  are  approximately  200,000  non-Gabonese  resident  in 
Gabon,  many  of  whom  are  from  Equatorial  Guinea  or  Cameroon. 
Immigration  laws  and  Presidential  decrees  promulgated  in  1986 


131 


GABON 

imposed  requirements  for  heavy  financial-guarantee  on 
non-French  and  non-American  expatriates  working  in  Gabon  and 
levied  exit  visa  fees  for  each  departure  from  the  country. 
The  Gendarmerie  periodically  detains  undocumented  aliens  who 
are  then  placed  in  a  holding  camp  under  harsh  conditions. 
Most  of  the  detainees  are  released  after  paying  fines  or 
bribes . 

The  Government  encourages,  but  does  not  force,  "regroupment" — 
the  voluntary  consolidation  of  small  rural  communities  into 
larger  villages  along  a  road — by  enhancing  the  delivery  of 
public  services  such  as  water,  electricity,  and  schooling  in 
the  larger  villages. 

Section  3  Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

At  the  end  of  1990,  the  right  of  citizens  to  change  their 
Government  was  still  limited,  but  important  reforms  were 
undertaken  which,  if  fully  implemented,  will  enable  citizens 
of  Gabon  to  exercise  this  right.   The  revised  constitution, 
parts  of  which  were  discussed  in  a  Government  communique,  will 
be  addressed  by  the  National  Assembly  in  its  spring  1991 
session;  it  calls  for  a  fully  functioning  democratic  system. 

Although  the  Democratic  Party  of  Gabon  (PDG)  remains  the 
principal  political  party  of  Gabon,  there  are  now  74 
recognized  opposition  political  associations,  37  of  which 
chose  to  participate  in  the  September/October  legislative 
elections  for  Gabon's  120  National  Assembly  seats.   President 
Bongo  granted  to  each  of  the  75  recognized  political  groups 
$75,000  to  finance  legislative  electoral  campaigns.   Election 
results  for  62  seats  were  annulled  in  September  due  to  voting 
irregularities.   In  late  December,  the  Supreme  Court  annulled 
another  5  seats,  leaving  in  question  the  ultimate  makeup  of 
the  Assembly  which  was  then  in  session.   Some  opposition 
candidates  alleged  ballot  box  stuffing,  and  their  supporters 
smashed  boxes.   Most  observers  agreed  that  irregularities  were 
due  to  disorganization.   After  the  second  round  of  elections 
in  October,  the  PDG  won  a  total  of  59  seats  and  received  the 
support  of  3  independent  candidates  which  gave  it  a 
parliamentary  majority.   The  remaining  58  seats  were  split 
among  7  opposition  parties. 

President  Bongo  has  been  reelected  three  times  in  uncontested 
elections,  most  recently  in  November  1986.   While  a  1983 
constitutional  amendment  provided  that  only  the 
President-Founder  of  the  PDG  party  (President  Bongo)  could  be 
a  candidate  for  President,  an  amendment  to  the  transitional 
Constitution  promulgated  in  April  1990  provides  for  open 
candidacy.   A  new,  "definitive"  constitution,  to  be  debated  in 
the  National  Assembly  in  early  1991,  provides  for  a  limit  of 
two  5-year  presidential  terms. 

Presidential  elections  are  held  during  the  7th  year  of  the 
President's  term.   President  Bongo  has  stated  that  the  next 
Presidential  election  will  be  held  in  1993,  when  his  current 
term  expires  in  conformity  with  the  Constitution.   National 
Assembly  members  are  elected  for  5  years.   The  Council  of 
Ministers,  which  meets  under  the  chairmanship  of  the  President 
or  the  Prime  Minister,  approves  most  government  decisions 
proposed  by  the  President.   The  36-member  Cabinet  appointed  in 
November  includes  four  opposition  ministers  and 
representatives  of  major  ethnic  groups  from  all  regions. 


132 


GABON 

Section  4   Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

There  are  no  local  human  rights  groups,  although 
representatives  of  international  groups  occasionally  visit 
Gabon.   In  1989  the  Government  invited  representatives  of 
Amnesty  International  and  other  human  rights  organizations  to 
visit  Gabon  to  ensure  that  the  alleged  assassination/coup 
plotters  arrested  in  August  of  that  year  received  proper 
treatment  and  a  fair  trial,  but  that  trial  had  not  been  held 
by  the  end  of  1990  (see  Section  i.e.).   The  Cabinet  appointed 
in  November  includes  a  Minister  for  Human  Rights  and  Relations 
with  the  Legislature. 

Section  5   Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

Gabon's  relative  prosperity  has  enabled  the  Government  to 
extend  health  and  social  security  benefits  to  all  its  people, 
regardless  of  tribal  affiliation  or  region.   There  were  no 
significant  ethnic,  racial,  religious,  or  social  groups  that 
suffered  discrimination  in  1990.   Urban  women  are  moving 
increasingly  into  the  professions  due  to  improved  educational 
opportunities,  including  in  technical  training  institutions  in 
urban  areas.   Government  and  party  policies  are  supportive. 
In  rural  Gabon  women  still  fill  largely  traditional  roles 
built  around  family  and  village,  e.g.,  hauling  water,  tending 
fields.   The  gradual  introduction  of  piped-in  water  and  of 
electricity  has  had  the  effect  of  improving  living  standards 
for  rural  women. 

According  to  medical  practitioners,  violence  against  women, 
including  wife  beating,  occurs  but  the  extent  of  the  problem 
is  not  known.   Incidents  of  violence  against  women  are 
reported  in  the  media  from  time  to  time  and  invariably  are  the 
outgrowth  of  domestic  disputes  or  are  related  to  violence 
against  prostitutes.   Cases  of  violence  against  women  rarely 
come  before  the  courts.   Neither  the  Government  nor  women's 
groups  have  directly  addressed  this  issue. 

Section  6   Worker  Rights 

a.   The  Right  of  Association 

Under  the  existing  Constitution,  workers  are  not  free  to  form 
and  join  unions  of  their  own  choosing.   Workers  may  only 
organize  unions  under  affiliation  with  the  government- 
sponsored  Labor  Confederation  of  Gabon  (COSYGA) .   Under  the 
reforms  adopted  in  the  first  half  of  1990,  all  ties  between 
COSYGA  and  the  former  single  party  have  been  formally 
severed.   The  future  of  COSYGA  remains  uncertain.   The  future 
constitution  reportedly  provides  for  freedom  of  association 
but  its  position  on  the  role  of  an  umbrella  labor  federation 
is  unknown  at  this  time.   It  is  estimated  that  over  half  of 
Gabon's  90,000  salaried  private  sector  workers  are  unionized. 
Government  employees  are  not  permitted  to  belong  to  unions. 

Under  Gabonese  law,  the  right  to  strike  continues  to  be 
severely  restricted;  strikes  are  illegal  if  they  occur  before 
remedies  prescribed  under  the  Labor  Code  (1978)  have  been 
exhausted.   In  February  and  April,  demonstrators  from  several 
public  sector  organizations,  e.g..  Air  Gabon,  the  electric 
utility,  the  national  railway,  gathered  outside  the 
Presidential  palace  at  various  times  to  protest  working 


133 


GABON 

conditions,  taxes,  and  low  public  sector  salaries.   President 
Bongo  met  with  labor  delegations  to  discuss  their  grievances, 
and  ultimately  resolved  outstanding  issues  through  a 
combination  of  tax  recisions  and  pay  increases.   Utilities 
workers  and  public  sector  employees  in  Gabon's  economic 
capital  of  Port  Gentil  staged  work  stoppages  in  1990  to 
protest  government-ordered  cuts  in  salaries  and  personnel  at 
the  state-owned  utilities  company. 

COSYGA  is  a  member  of  the  Organization  of  African  Trade  Union 
Unity  and  maintains  ties  with  the  International  Labor 
Organization  (ILO)  and  the  American  Federation  of  Labor  and 
Congress  of  Industrial  Organizations  and  other  national  trade 
union  centers. 

b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

Unions  in  each  sector  negotiate  with  management  over  specific 
pay  scales,  working  conditions,  and  benefits  applicable  to 
their  industry.   Representatives  of  labor,  management,  and 
government  meet  annually  to  agree  on  the  minimum  wage,  which 
is  determined  within  guidelines  provided  by  the  Government. 
Agreements  reached  between  labor  and  management  in  each  sector 
also  apply  to  nonunion  and  expatriate  labor.   According  to  the 
Labor  Code,  workers  may  individually  or  collectively  take 
complaints  of  code  violations  to  arbitration  and  may  appeal  to 
labor  and  national  courts.   These  provisions  are  respected  in 
practice.   However,  the  1989  report  of  the  ILO  Committee  of 
Experts  (COE)  recommends  that  existing  legislation  be  revised 
to  expand  protection  against  antiunion  discrimination  and  to 
provide  protection,  including  penal  sanctions,  for  workers' 
organizations  against  employer  interference.   There  are  no 
export  processing  zones  in  Gabon. 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

Forced  labor  is  prohibited  by  law,  and  is  not  practiced, 
although  technical  violations  of  the  conventions  on  forced 
labor  have  been  criticized  by  the  ILO. 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

No  minor  below  the  age  of  16  may  work  without  the 
authorization  of  the  Ministries  of  Labor,  Public  Health,  and 
Education,  which  enforce  this  provision.   It  is  granted 
rarely,  and  few  employees  in  the  modern  wage  sector  are  below 
the  age  of  18.   Children  at  younger  ages  are  involved  in 
traditional  family  farm  labor  in  rural  areas. 

e.  Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

The  (1978)  Labor  Code  and  the  (1982)  General  Convention  of 
Labor  govern  working  conditions  and  benefits  for  all  sectors. 
Labor  legislation  provides  broad  protection  to  workers.   The 
minimum  wage  for  unskilled  labor  since  April  1985  has  been 
about  $250  per  month  for  Gabonese  and  about  $192  for 
foreigners.   Owing  to  labor  shortages,  most  salaries  are  much 
higher.   These  wages  provide  a  decent  living  for  workers  and 
their  families.   Work  over  40  hours  per  week  must  be 
compensated  with  overtime,  and  the  workweek  must  include  a 
minimum  rest  period  of  48  consecutive  hours.   Women  have  a 
right  to  14  weeks  of  leave  during  pregnancy,  including  6  weeks 
before  delivery. 


134 


GABON 

The  Labor  Code  provides  for  occupational  health  and  safety 
standards  to  be  established  by  decree  of  the  Minister  of 
Health.   Adherence  to  these  standards,  which  are  generally 
adopted  from  the  French  model,  varies  greatly  and  usually 
reflects  company  policy  rather  than  governmental  enforcement 
efforts.   There  are  a  range  of  employment  opportunities  for 
Gabonese  wishing  to  enter  the  wage  economy,  although  it  has 
been  declining  as  the  economy  reacts  to  the  fall  in  world  oil 
prices  in  the  late  1980 's. 


135 


THE  GAMBIA 


The  Gambia  is  a  parliamentary  democracy  with  an  elected 
president  and  legislature.   Except  for  a  coup  attempt  in  1981, 
The  Gambia  has  had  a  history  of  political  stability  under  the 
leadership  of  its  only  President  since  independence  in  1965, 
Sir  Dawda  Jawara.   His  ruling  People's  Progressive  Party  (PPP) 
has  dominated  the  unicameral  Parliament,  but  several 
opposition  parties  participate  in  the  political  process, 
including  two  parties  formed  in  1986.   The  confederation 
between  The  Gambia  and  Senegal,  established  in  1982  following 
the  coup  attempt,  formally  ended  in  September  1989  after 
Senegal's  withdrawal  of  its  security  forces  from  The  Gambia. 
The  two  countries  disagreed  over  the  function  and  ultimate 
purpose  of  the  confederation,  with  The  Gambia  insisting  upon 
its  sovereignty  and  Senegal  favoring  a  more  fully  integrated 
economic  union. 

The  Gambia  has  a  small  army  with  an  attached  naval  unit 
organized  and  trained  by  British  officers.   Its  gendarmerie 
forces,  formerly  headed  by  Senegalese  officers,  are  now  under 
the  control  of  and  responsive  to  Gambian  civilian  leadership. 

The  Gambia's  estimated  population  of  784,000  consists  largely 
of  subsistence  farmers  growing  rice  and  groundnuts  (peanuts), 
the  country's  primary  export  crop.   In  1990  The  Gambia 
continued  its  stringent  economic  reform  program  in  cooperation 
with  the  International  Monetary  Fund  and  the  World  Bank. 

The  Gambia  has  made  particular  efforts  to  promote  observance 
of  human  rights,  which  are  constitutionally  protected  and 
generally  observed  in  practice.   The  Government  has  actively 
supported  the  African  Center  for  Democracy  and  Human  Rights 
Studies,  which  opened  in  Banjul  in  1989  and  sponsored  a 
program  in  1990  of  conferences  and  colloquiums  on  human  rights 
issues . 

RESPECT  FOR  HUMAN  RIGHTS 

Section  1  Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.  Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 
There  were  no  reported  political  killings. 

b.  Disappearance 

There  were  no  reports  of  disappearances. 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment 

The  Constitution  prohibits  torture  and  other  cruel,  inhuman, 
and  degrading  punisliment,  and  there  were  no  allegations  of 
torture  in  1990. 

However,  prison  conditions  are  severe,  and  there  were  in  past 
years  occasional  reports  of  mistreatment  of  prisoners.   After 
the  death  of  several  inmates  in  1988  due  to  inadequate  diet,  a 
presidential  commission  on  prison  conditions  investigated  the 
occurrence,  and  its  recommendations  led  to  prison  reforms. 
There  have  been  no  further  reports  of  such  incidents  since  the 
reforms.   The  Government  allows  prison  visits  by 
representatives  of  the  local  Red  Cross  and  by  close  family 
members . 


136 


THE  GAMBIA 

d.  Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

Based  on  British  legal  practice,  we 11 -developed  constitutional 
and  legal  procedures  govern  the  arrest,  detention,  and  trial 
of  persons  accused  of  crimes.   Under  these  procedures,  a 
detained  person  must  be  brought  to  trial  within  1  week  of 
arrest.   This  waiting  period,  however,  can  be  extended  twice, 
making  21  days  the  maximum  period  of  detention  before  trial. 
In  fact,  due  to  overcrowded  court  schedules,  the  detention 
period  can  be  much  longer. 

There  were  no  political  detainees  held  during  1990.   There  are 
some  self-exiled  opposition  elements  who  would  be  arrested  for 
suspected  involvement  in  the  1981  coup  attempt  if  they 
returned  to  The  Gambia,  e.g.,  the  alleged  leader  of  the  plot, 
Kukoi  Samba  Sanyang. 

e.  Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

There  are  three  kinds  of  law  in  The  Gambia:   general,  Shari'a 
(Islamic),  and  customary  law.   Shari'a,  governing  Muslims,  is 
observed  in  marriage  and  divorce  proceedings.   Customary  law 
covers  marriage  and  divorce  for  non-Muslims,  inheritance,  land 
tenure  and  utilization,  local  tribal  government,  and  all  other 
traditional  civil  and  social  relations.   General  law,  based  on 
English  statutes  and  modified  to  suit  the  Gambian  context, 
governs  criminal  cases  and  trials  and  most  organized  business 
practices.   If  there  were  a  conflict  between  general  law  and 
Shari'a,  general  law  would  prevail. 

The  Constitution  provides  criminal  defendants  with  the 
traditional  rights  of  the  English  legal  system,  such  as 
presumption  of  innocence,  the  right  of  the  accused  to  be 
informed  promptly  of  the  charges,  and  the  right  to  a  public 
trial.   If  released  on  bail,  an  accused  person  may  face 
charges  indefinitely,  since  there  is  no  maximum  time  limit  for 
completing  the  investigation  and  bringing  the  case  to  trial. 
Appeals  normally  proceed  from  the  Supreme  (trial)  Court  to  the 
Court  of  Appeals,  the  country's  highest  tribunal. 

Judges  are  appointed  by  the  Government,  but  the  judiciary 
operates  independently  and  is  free  of  government 
interference.   Because  of  the  shortage  of  legal  professionals 
in  The  Gambia,  the  legal  system  is  staffed  in  part  by  judges 
and  prosecuting  and  defense  attorneys  from  other 
English-speaking  countries  having  the  same  basic  legal  system 
as  The  Gambia. 

An  opposition  journalist,  Sana  Manneh,  editor  of  The  Torch, 
accused  four  cabinet  ministers  of  corruption  in  1988  and 
subsequently  was  charged  with  libeling  three  of  them  in 
October  1988.   A  4-month  trial  ensued,  avidly  followed  by  the 
private  press  and  the  public.   In  April  1989,  Manneh  was 
acquitted  on  two  counts  of  libel  and  given  a  warning  on  a 
third,  less  serious  count.   The  Government  in  1990  appealed 
this  decision  to  the  Supreme  Court,  which  overturned  the 
decision  of  the  magistrate  court  and  found  Manneh  guilty.   The 
Chief  Justice  held  that  the  magistrate  had  not  sufficiently 
considered  the  law  on  criminal  libel,  particularly  with 
reference  to  the  shifting  of  the  burden  of  proof  to  the 
defendant  if  he  raises  the  defense  of  justification.   The 
Supreme  Court  remitted  the  case  for  sentencing  to  the 
magistrate  court,  which  had  not  scheduled  the  case  by  the  end 
of  the  year.   Meanwhile,  Sana  Manneh  appealed  the  new  Supreme 


137 


THE  GAMBIA 

Court  verdict  to  the  Court  of  Appeals,  which  will  likely  hear 
his  case  in  May  1991. 

There  were  no  known  political  prisoners  in  The  Gambia  at 
year ' s  end . 

f .   Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 
Correspondence 

The  Constitution  provides  guarantees,  which  are  respected  in 
practice,  against  arbitrary  search  of  person  and  property.   It 
does  permit  a  search  to  which  a  suspect  submits  voluntarily  or 
if  it  is  reasonably  required  in  the  interest  of  national 
defense  or  public  welfare.   Under  the  Gambian  criminal  code, 
search  warrants  based  on  probable  cause  are  issued  by 
magistrates  upon  application  by  the  police.   The  code  also 
specifies  that  police  may  conduct  a  search  of  a  private 
residence  while  a  crime  is  in  progress.   There  are  a  few 
checkpoints  in  the  country  where  the  police  and  military 
periodically  stop  and  search  drivers  and  vehicles. 

The  rights  of  family  are  of  great  importance  in  The  Gambia's 
conservative  Muslim  society.   Marriage,  the  raising  of 
children,  and  religious  instruction  are  regulated  by  a 
combination  of  personal  preference  and  ethnic  and  religious 
tradition.   The  Government  does  not  normally  intrude  in  family 
matters.   Family  planning  is  encouraged  but  not  enforced. 
There  is  no  effort  to  censor  or  control  personal 
correspondence  or  communications. 

Section  2  Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including: 

a.   Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

The  Constitution  provides  for  freedom  of  speech  and  press. 
While  opposition  parties  have  been  relatively  inactive  since 
the  1987  elections,  members  freely  express  their  opinions 
about  the  Government  and  ruling  party. 

The  Government  does  not  attempt  to  censor  published  materials, 
whether  they  originate  within  or  outside  the  country.   In 
practical  terms.  The  Gambia,  with  its  small,  mainly  rural, 
largely  illiterate,  multilingual  population,  does  not  support 
an  active  press,  though  this  is  slowly  changing.   The 
Government  and  the  PPP  have  newspapers  which  are  published  on 
a  biweekly  or  monthly  basis. 

There  are  several  independent,  intermittently  published, 
mimeographed  newssheets  and,  more  recently,  one  monthly 
newsmagazine.   Both  the  opposition  and  the  independent  press 
are  openly  critical  of  the  Government.   A  biweekly 
mimeographed  paper,  sponsored  by  a  legal  Socialist  party,  has 
been  particularly  vocal  in  condemning  the  governing  party. 
There  is,  however,  some  degree  of  self-censorship  in  the 
government-owned  media,  which  exercises  restraint  in  reporting 
criticism  of  the  Government.   During  the  Manneh  libel  trial. 
Radio  Gambia  and  the  official  press  ceased  coverage  after  the 
first  week  of  the  trial. 

There  is  no  television  in  The  Gambia,  although  Senegalese 
broadcasts  can  be  received.   The  Government  dominates  the 
media  through  Radio  Gambia.   There  have  been  no  reported 
instances  of  government  interference  with  the  one  commercial 


138 


THE  GAMBIA 

radio  station,  which  mainly  broadcasts  music.   Foreign 
magazines  and  newspapers  are  available  in  the  capital.   There 
is  no  university  in  The  Gambia. 

b.  Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

In  general,  there  is  no  interference  with  the  freedom  of 
assembly  and  association  which  is  provided  for  in  the 
Constitution.   The  Government  almost  always  grants  permits  for 
peaceful  assembly  but  requires  that  these  meetings  be  open  to 
the  public.   Permits  for  assembly  are  issued  by  the  police  and 
are  not  denied  for  political  reasons.   The  permits  regulate 
times,  places,  use  of  loudspeakers,  and  the  authority  to  block 
traffic  for  a  parade.   The  only  banned  organization  in  the 
Gambia  is  the  Movement  for  Justice  in  Africa,  which  was 
suspected  of  involvement  in  the  1981  coup  attempt.   The  law 
has  been  amended  so  that  any  future  bans  would  be  by  judicial 
decision  rather  than  a  presidential  decree.   The  State  would 
apply  to  the  court  for  a  banning  order  with  specified 
grounds.   There  have  been  no  requests  to  ban  any  organization. 

c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

The  constitutional  provisions  of  freedom  of  conscience, 
thought,  and  religion  are  observed  in  practice.   The  State  is 
secular,  although  Muslims  constitute  over  90  percent  of  the 
population.   The  schools  provide  instruction  in  the  Koran  for 
Muslim  students.   Christians,  both  Catholic  and  Protestant, 
freely  practice  their  religion.   There  is  a  small  Baha ' i 
community  in  Banjul.   Missionaries  are  permitted  to  carry  on 
their  various  mission-related  activities  openly  and  freely. 

d.  Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

The  Constitution  provides  for  freedom  of  movement,  subject  to 
conditions  protecting  public  safety,  health,  and  morals. 
There  is  no  restriction  on  freedom  of  emigration  or  freedom  of 
return.   Because  of  historic  and  ethnic  ties  with  the 
inhabitants  of  Senegal,  Guinea-Bissau,  Mali,  Sierra  Leone,  and 
Mauritania,  people  tend  to  move  freely  across  borders,  which 
are  poorly  marked  and  difficult  to  police. 

In  1990  a  small  number  of  refugees  from  Liberia  settled  in  the 
Gambia;  official  U.N.  registration  of  Liberians  in  December 
stood  at  76.   A  larger  group  of  refugees  crossed  into  the 
Gambia  from  the  Casamance  region  of  Senegal,  with  estimates 
ranging  from  one  to  two  thousand.   The  Government's  attempt  to 
register  these  Senegalese  refugees  has  been  difficult  since 
many  of  them  are  living  with  Gambian  family  members.   The 
official  count  is  only  369  registered,  but  many  more  are 
believed  to  be  in  the  border  villages. 

Section  3   Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

Citizens  have  the  right  to  change  their  government  through 
peaceful  means.   The  President  and  the  Members  of  Parliament 
are  popularly  elected,  as  are  the  district  councils  and  the 
chiefs,  who  exercise  traditional  authority  in  the  villages  and 
compounds.   Presidential  and  parliamentary  elections  are  held 
every  5  years.   Citizens  must  be  at  least  18  years  of  age  to 
vote.   Balloting  is  secret,  and  measures  are  employed  to 
assure  that  illiterate  voters  understand  the  choices  and 
voting  procedure. 


139 


THE  GAMBIA 

A  functioning  multiparty  system  exists  in  The  Gambia  even 
though  the  People's  Progressive  Party  under  the  leadership  of 
President  Jawara  has  been  in  power  since  independence.   The 
principal  opposition  party,  the  National  Convention  Party 
(NCP) ,  contests  both  national  and  district  elections.   Two 
newly  formed  opposition  parties,  the  Gambia  People's  Party 
(GPP)  and  the  People's  Democratic  Organization  for 
Independence  and  Socialism  (PDOIS),  contested  for  office  in 
the  March  1987  presidential  and  parliamentary  elections. 
Campaigning  was  vigorous,  active,  and  open  to  all  parties. 
The  ruling  PPP  won  by  an  overwhelming  majority  and  now  holds 
31  of  36  elective  seats  in  the  Parliament.   The  NCP  was  the 
only  opposition  party  to  win  seats.   The  opposition  charged 
that  the  election  was  manipulated  by  the  Government  but  did 
not  provide  evidence  to  support  its  allegations.   The 
opposition  also  charged,  with  some  justification,  that  the  PPP 
benefited  from  its  control  of  Radio  Gambia  and  access  ro 
government  vehicles  for  campaigning. 

Section  4  Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

The  Government  is  responsive  to  charges  of  human  rights 
violations  and  permits  visits  of  international  human  rights 
organizations  to  observe  the  conditions  of  detainees  and  the 
trial  process.   There  were  no  reported  requests  by  such 
organizations  for  investigation  of  alleged  human  rights  abuses 
in  The  Gambia  during  1990.   The  Gambia  is  an  active  member  of 
the  United  Nations  Human  Rights  Commission  and  of  the 
Organization  of  African  Unity's  (OAU)  Commission  on  Human  and 
Peoples'  Rights.   It  took  the  initiative  in  persuading  the  OAU 
to  locate  the  Commission  in  Banjul  which  opened  in  June  1989. 
The  Governinent  has  also  established  the  African  Center  for 
Democracy  and  Human  Rights  Studies  in  conjunction  with  the  OAU 
Commission.   The  Center  works  to  promote  greater  respect  for 
human  rights  in  Africa  through  research  into  and  documentation 
of  human  rights  problems  and  through  workshops  and 
conferences.   In  November  The  Gambia  was  the  site  of  the 
Commonwealth  Colloquium  on  the  Domestic  Application  of 
International  Human  Rights  Norms. 

Section  5   Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

The  Gambian  Constitution  states  that  all  persons  in  The  Gambia 
are  entitled  to  "fundamental  rights  and  freedoms"  regardless 
of  "race,  place  of  origin,  political  opinions,  colour,  creed, 
or  sex."   There  is  no  officially  sanctioned  discrimination 
based  on  race,  sex,  religion,  language,  or  social  status.   The 
Gambian  population  is  overwhelmingly  Muslim  and  rural,  with  85 
percent  living  in  villages,  and  there  is  considerable  emphasis 
on  the  collective  aspects  of  rights  and  privileges.   There  is 
no  evidence  of  discrimination  in  employment,  education,  or  in 
other  areas  of  Gambian  life  on  religious  grounds. 

Traditional  views,  especially  about  the  role  of  women  in 
society,  are  changing,  but  very  slowly.   Marriages  are  still 
most  often  arranged,  and  Muslim  tradition  allows  for 
polygamy.   Women  are  disadvantaged  educationally,  with  females 
comprising  about  one-third  of  the  students  in  primary  school, 
and  one-quarter  of  the  high  school  students. 

Domestic  violence  and  female  circumcision  are  practiced  in  The 
Gambia  as  in  the  region,  reinforced  by  traditional  beliefs. 


140 


THE  GAMBIA 

Until  recently,  the  Government  has  been  passive  in  attempting 
to  counter  these  practices.   However,  the  Women's  Bureau  in 
the  Office  of  the  President  conducts  an  ongoing  campaign  in 
both  the  rural  and  urban  areas  to  make  women  aware  of  their 
legal  rights  in  divorce  and  custody  of  children,  property 
matters,  and  in  cases  of  assault.   The  Bureau  holds  workshops 
on  female  circumcision  to  inform  women  of  its  negative  effects 
and  to  discuss  the  religious  and  traditional  ties  to  the 
practice.   It  also  publishes  a  quarterly  magazine  on  women's 
issues  which  it  distributes  throughout  the  country.   The 
Women's  Bureau  conducted  a  study  in  1990  of  women's  rights, 
including  specific  questions  on  domestic  violence,  that  will 
be  used  as  the  basis  for  recommendations  to  the  law  reform 
commission.   The  data  from  this  study  had  not  been  released  by 
the  end  of  1990. 

Section  6  Worker  Rights 

a.  The  Right  of  Association 

The  Labor  Administration  Act  specifies  that  workers  are  free 
to  form  associations,  including  trade  unions.   However,  less 
than  20  percent  of  the  work  force  is  engaged  in  the  modern 
wage  sector  of  the  economy,  where  unions  normally  are  active. 
The  Gambian  Workers'  Confederation  (GWC)  and  the  Gambian 
Workers  Union  (GWU) ,  are  the  two  main  independent  and 
competing  umbrella  organizations,  and  both  are  recognized  by, 
and  have  a  good  working  relationship  with,  the  Government. 
Police  officers  and  the  military  are  prohibited  from  forming 
unions  and  from  going  on  strike. 

The  Labor  Administration  Act  authorizes  strikes.   However, 
because  of  a  required  14-day  cooling  off  period  (21  days  in 
essential  services),  government  conciliation  efforts,  and  the 
poor  bargaining  strength  of  the  unions,  few  strikes  actually 
occur.   The  Bakers'  Association  went  on  strike  in  August, 
demanding  an  increase  in  the  controlled  price  of  bread.   The 
Association  met  with  the  Minister  of  Finance  on  August  8,  and 
after  the  Minister  agreed  to  an  increase  in  the  price  of  bread 
the  bakers  returned  to  work. 

As  a  result  of  an  incomplete  merger  effort  between  the  GWC  and 
the  GWU,  both  organizations  claim  affiliation  to  the 
International  Confederation  of  Free  Trade  Unions  (ICFTU); 
however,  the  ICFTU  continues  to  recognize  the  GWU  as  its 
affiliate.   Both  unions  are  affiliated  with  the  Organization 
of  African  Trade  Union  Unity.   In  addition,  there  are  two 
other  Gambian  labor  confederations,  the  Gambian  Labor 
Confederation,  which  is  affiliated  with  the  Communist- 
controlled  World  Federation  of  Trade  Unions,  and  the  Gambian 
Trade  Union  Congress,  which  is  affiliated  with  the  World 
Confederation  of  Labor.   The  Gambia  is  not  a  member  of  the 
International  Labor  Organization. 

b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

Under  the  Labor  Administration  Act,  workers  have  the  right  to 
organize  and  bargain  collectively.   Although  trade  unions  are 
small  and  fragmented,  collective  bargaining  does  take  place. 
The  Labor  Department  registers  the  collective  bargaining 
agreements  reached  between  the  unions  and  management,  but  does 
not  interfere  in  the  bargaining  process.   There  is  no  export 
processing  zone  in  The  Gambia.   Labor  laws  are  applied 
uniformly  throughout  the  country. 


141 


THE  GAMBIA 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

The  Criminal  Code  prohibits  compulsory  labor.   There  is  no 
evidence  of  forced  or  compulsory  labor  in  The  Gambia. 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

The  official  minimum  age  for  employment  is  18.   There  is  no 
compulsory  education  legislation  and,  because  of  the  paucity 
of  secondary  school  opportunities,  most  children  complete 
their  formal  education  by  age  14  and  informally  enter  the  work 
force.   The  Labor  Commissioner  is  charged  with  receiving 
employee  labor  cards,  which  include  a  person's  age,  but  such 
inspection  rarely  takes  place  for  lack  of  funding  and 
inspectors.   Control  of  child  labor  does  not  apply  to 
customary  chores  on  family  farms  or  street  trading. 

e.  Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

Minimum  wages  and  hours  of  work  are  determined  by  the  Joint 
Industrial  Council,  pursuant  to  the  Labor  Administration  Act, 
which  has  representation  from  employees,  employers,  and 
government.   For  example,  the  minimum  wage  for  an  unskilled 
laborer  is  approximately  $1.21  per  day,  usually  supplemented 
with  transport  and  other  allowances.   The  wages  are  higher  for 
various  skilled  laborers,  with  the  minimum  set  at  $1.71  per 
day  for  artisans,  e.g.,  carpenter,  mason,  and  at  $2.91  per  day 
for  hotel  chefs,  foremen,  and  low-level  supervisors.   The 
private  sector  generally  has  provision  for  overtime  pay. 
These  minimum  wages  do  not  provide  for  a  decent  standard  of 
living.   However,  most  Gambians  do  not  live  on  one  worker's 
earnings  and  rely  on  the  extended  family  system,  usually 
including  some  subsistence  farming. 

The  customary  workweek  for  government  workers  is  four  8-hour 
days,  with  a  half  day  on  Friday.   Allowance  is  made  for 
half-hour  lunch  breaks.   For  the  private  sector,  there  are 
four  8-hour  days  with  half  days  on  Fridays  and  Saturdays, 
making  a  40-hour  workweek.   Government  employees  are  entitled 
to  1  month's  paid  leave  after  1  year  of  service;  private 
sector  employees  receive  between  14  and  30  days  of  paid  annual 
leave,  depending  on  their  length  of  service. 

Under  the  Factory  Act,  the  Minister  of  Labor  is  given 
authority  to  regulate  factory  health  and  safety,  accident 
prevention,  and  dangerous  trades  and  to  appoint  inspectors  to 
ensure  compliance.   However,  this  system  is  less  than  fully 
satisfactory,  owing  to  the  shortage  of  inspectors.   The 
Government  announced  in  1987  that  it  would  submit  to 
Parliament  a  new  labor  code  to  replace  obsolete  labor  laws; 
and  a  new  industrial  injuries  compensation  act  to  replace  the 
existing  Workmen's  Compensation  Act.   As  of  the  end  of  1990, 
these  were  still  pending. 


142 


GHANA 


Ghana  is  governed  by  the  Provisional  National  Defense  Council 
(PNDC)  under  the  chairmanship  of  Flight  Lieutenant  Jerry  John 
Rawlings  who  seized  power  from  an  elected  government  on 
December  31,  1981,  and  suspended  the  constitution.   Under  the 
Establishment  Proclamation  of  January  11,  1982,  the  PNDC 
exercises  "all  powers  of  government."   In  addition  to  Chairman 
Rawlings,  the  PNDC  consists  of  eight  members,  of  whom  two  are 
serving  military  officers  and  six  are  civilians.   The 
executive  consists  of  ministries  headed  by  secretaries,  who 
together  constitute  a  committee  of  secretaries,  chaired  by  a 
PNDC  member,  that  drafts  laws  for  referral  to  the  PNDC  for 
final  consideration  and  approval.   There  is  no  national 
legislative  body,  but  in  1989  elections  were  held  for  nonparty 
district  assemblies,  the  country's  only  forum  for  popular 
involvement  in  decisionmaking.   These  assemblies  are  tasked 
with  defining  and  carrying  out  local  development  projects. 
The  district  assemblies  notwithstanding,  all  senior  national, 
regional,  and  district  officials  are  appointed  by  the  PNDC. 

The  several  security  organizations  report  to  various 
departments,  but  all  come  under  the  control  of  the  PNDC.   Most 
security  cases  of  a  political  nature  are  handled  by  the  Bureau 
of  National  Investigation  (BNI).   All  security  agencies  report 
to  the  PNDC  member  for  Foreign  Affairs  and  National  Security. 

Although  Ghana  is  attempting  to  rebuild  its  industrial  base 
after  years  of  economic  mismanagement,  more  than  60  percent  of 
the  population  is  still  involved  in  agriculture.   Cocoa  and 
cocoa  products  provide  about  two-thirds  of  export  revenues. 
Minerals,  principally  gold,  diamonds,  manganese  ore,  and 
bauxite,  are  also  produced  and  exported.   Economic  growth  has 
averaged  5  percent  annually  since  the  inception  of  the 
Economic  Recovery  Program  in  1983.   In  recent  months,  the 
inflation  rate  has  accelerated  again  and  was  about  37  percent 
in  1990. 

Human  rights  remained  circumscribed  in  Ghana  during  1990. 
There  continued  to  be  significant  restrictions  on  such  basic 
rights  as  freedom  of  speech,  press,  assembly,  and  religion; 
the  right  of  citizens  to  change  their  government;  and  legal 
due  process.   Major  Protestant  churches  and  the  Roman  Catholic 
Church  have  refused  to  register  with  the  Government  as 
required  under  PNDC  law  221  of  June  1989.   After  being 
"frozen"  for  18  months,  the  Mormons  are  again  allowed  to 
worship  publicly.   The  Jehovah's  Witnesses  remained  "frozen" 
and  cannot  worship  publicly;  the  Government  indicated  it  was 
willing  to  review  the  case.   Summary  arrest  and  detention  were 
continuing  problems  with  instances  of  incarceration  without 
formal  charges.   The  Government  sponsored  a  series  of  public 
meetings  in  1990  for  the  populace  to  discuss  and  propose  ideas 
for  changing  the  current  system  for  one  providing  greater 
participation,  but  by  year's  end  no  specific  proposals  had 
emerged . 

RESPECT  FOR  HUMAN  RIGHTS 

Section  1   Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.   Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

There  were  no  reports  of  politically  motivated  or  other 
extrajudicial  killings. 


143 


GHANA 

b.  Disappearance 

No  politically  motivated  disappearances  were  reported. 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment 

There  have  been  occasional  credible  reports  of  torture  and 
beatings  in  recent  years,  although  there  were  none  in  1990. 
Amnesty  International  (AI)  appealed  in  1989  to  the  Government 
to  investigate  instances  of  reported  mistreatment  of  political 
prisoners . 

Prisons  in  Ghana  are  antiquated  and  seriously  overcrowded; 
conditions  are  harsh,  and  there  have  been  a  number  of  deaths. 
Within  the  past  few  years  two  American  citizens  with  medical 
problems  died  in  Ghanaian  prisons.   The  Government  established 
a  commission  in  1989  to  look  into  prison  reform,  but  at  year's 
end  the  commission  had  issued  no  public  report,  and  the 
Government  had  announced  no  significant  ameliorative  steps. 

d.  Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

The  criminal  code  provides  minimal  legal  protections  against 
arbitrary  arrest  and  detention.   Although  accused  persons  have 
the  right  to  be  charged  formally  within  48  hours  of  detention, 
the  court  can  set  excessive  bail  or  refuse  to  release  persons 
on  bail  and  instead  remand  them  without  charge  for  an 
indefinite  period,  subject  to  weekly  review.   The  only  crimes 
for  which,  by  statute,  there  is  no  bail  are  murder  and 
subversion.   PNDC  law  4  (Preventive  Custody  Law  of  1982) 
provides  for  indefinite  detention  without  trial  if  the  PNDC 
determines  it  is  in  the  interest  of  national  security.   A  1984 
law  prevents  any  judicial  inquiry  into  the  grounds  for 
detention  under  PNDC  law  4.   Ghanaian  security  forces 
occasionally  take  persons  into  custody,  with  or  without 
warrants,  and  hold  them  incommunicado  for  extended  periods  of 
time,  with  no  legal  recourse  available  to  the  detainee.   The 
threat  of  such  treatment  serves  as  a  deterrent  to  political  or 
other  opposition  activities  which  the  PNDC  wishes  to 
discourage . 

In  past  years,  and  in  1990,  businessmen  suspected  of  illegal 
activities,  especially  in  the  timber  industry,  were  often 
arrested  and  incarcerated  while  the  Government  undertook 
investigations.   Lebanese  and  other  resident  foreign 
businessmen  have  been  jailed  and  held  for  extended  periods 
without  formal  charges  and  without  benefit  of  formal  trial. 
In  some  cases,  the  incarcerated  businessmen  have  been  released 
without  any  trial  after  paying  a  sum,  informally  deemed  to  be 
a  suitable  reparation,  to  the  national  investigation  committee. 

In  recent  years,  American  citizens  have  been  arrested  and  held 
without  charge  for  lengthy  periods  without  the  U.S.  Embassy 
being  notified  or  provided  access  as  stipulated  in 
international  and  bilateral  conventions.   On  two  occasions  in 
1990,  naturalized  American  citizens  of  Ghanaian  origin  were 
held  without  charge  for  extended  periods  of  time.   One  was 
eventually  released  without  being  charged.   The  other  was 
still  in  detention  at  the  end  of  the  year. 

The  number  of  political  detainees/prisoners  at  the  end  of  1990 
was  unknown  but  is  estimated  at  around  200.   The  Government 
claims  the  actual  number  is  smaller.   The  total  number  of 
persons  detained  during  the  year  for  short  periods  of  a  few 


144 


GHANA 

days  to  a  few  weeks  is  unknown  but  is  certainly  much  higher 
than  200.   Among  those  now  under  detention  are  Major  Courage 
Quashigah  and  five  other  suspected  coup  plotters  arrested  in 
October  1989.   Occasional  and  unverifiable  reports  suggest 
they  are  not  being  mistreated,  but  the  Government  gives  no 
indication  that  it  is  prepared  to  charge  them  or  bring  them  to 
trial.   In  June  the  PNDC  released  10  persons  who  had  been 
detained  for  alleged  involvement  in  "subversive  activities 
against  the  State."   Although  little  information  was 
available,  at  least  one  person  had  been  imprisoned  since  1983 
and  another  since  1985. 

In  August  the  Chairman  and  other  officials  of  the  Movement  for 
Freedom  and  Justice  (MFJ) ,  which  advocates  greater  respect  for 
human  rights  and  democratization,  were  charged  with  conspiracy 
and  publication  of  false  statements  stemming  from  an  MFJ  press 
statement  charging  that  the  BNI  had  detained  them.   The  MFJ 
chairman  later  retracted  MF J ' s  charge,  publicly  apologized  to 
the  BNI  director,  and  announced  that  the  MFJ  leadership  had 
simply  been  "invited  to  a  discussion"  at  the  BNI.   This 
discussion  coincided  with  the  public  release  of  MF J ' s 
statement  of  political  principles  (see  Section  2.b.). 

The  Government  does  not  practice  forced  exile.   In  recent 
years,  it  has  guietly  encouraged  Ghanaians  with  valuable 
skills — including  dissidents — who  are  living  abroad  to  return 
home;  in  some  case,  the  Government  has  offered  amnesty.   Some 
officials  of  former  governments  have  returned  and  resumed 
careers  outside  politics,  apparently  without  difficulties. 
Others  have  remained  abroad,  particularly  in  the  United 
Kingdom  and  other  parts  of  Western  Europe,  in  order  to  conduct 
active  opposition  to  the  PNDC,  out  of  fear  of  political 
persecution,  or  because  they  have  established  a  more  secure 
livelihood. 

e.   Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

Three  court  systems  exist  in  Ghana.   In  the  "prerevolutionary" 
court  system,  traditional  legal  safeguards  are  based  on 
British  legal  practices.   Trials  are  public,  and  defendants 
have  a  right  to  be  present,  to  be  represented  by  an  attorney, 
and  to  present  evidence  and  cross-examine  witnesses.   This 
system  includes  high  courts,  appeals  courts,  and  the  Supreme 
Court  headed  by  a  chief  justice.   There  are  limitations, 
however,  to  the  independence  of  these  courts,  and  in  the  past 
the  PNDC  summarily  dismissed  judges,  thereby  warning  judges 
that  they  serve  at  the  PNDC ' s  sufferance. 

In  1989  the  Government  reconstituted  the  Judicial  Council  but 
confined  it  to  an  advisory  role  for  judicial  appointments  and 
disciplinary  matters.   The  judiciary  is  still  not  independent. 

A  separate  public  tribunal  system  at  the  national  and  regional 
levels  was  set  up  by  the  PNDC  in  1982  to  bypass  the  regular 
court  system  and  speed  up  the  judicial  process  by  restricting 
procedural  rights  of  defendants.   The  public  tribunals  depend 
largely  on  judges  with  little  or  no  legal  experience,  and  they 
shortcut  legal  safeguards  and  due  process  to  provide  "rough 
and  ready"  decisions,  particularly  in  criminal  cases.   This 
system  includes  the  Office  of  Revenue  Commissioners,  the 
National  Investigations  Committee  (which,  established  by  PNDC 
Law  2,  has  the  power  to  investigate  virtually  any  allegation 
referred  to  it  by  the  PNDC),  the  Special  Military  Tribunal, 
and  the  Public  Tribunals  Board.   Most  sensitive  political 
cases  and  those  involving  security  issues  and  capital 


145 


GHANA 

punishment  are  heard  by  public  tribunals.   PNDC  Law  24 
empowers  public  tribunals  to  impose  the  death  penalty  for  any 
crime  specified  a  capital  offense  by  the  PNDC  or  if  the 
tribunal  determines  that  it  is  merited  in  a  particular  case, 
even  if  the  crime  is  not  punishable  by  the  death  penalty  under 
regular  statutes.   No  appeals  were  permitted  until  1985,  when 
the  National  Appeals  Tribunal  was  created.   The  Ghana  Bar 
Association  has  elected  not  to  practice  before  the  public 
tribunals  and  currently  has  a  court  case  pending  which  hinges 
on  its  opposition  to  the  tribunals. 

In  October  the  greater  Accra  Bar  Association  called  upon 
members  to  uphold  the  rule  of  law  and  help  protect  human 
rights.   It  called  on  the  Government  to  allow  criticism  and 
dissent  and  requested  repeal  of  the  Habeas  Corpus  Act,  the 
Preventive  Custody  Law,  and  the  laws  which  require 
registration  of  newspapers  and  religious  organizations. 

The  Chieftancy  Act  of  1971  gives  the  village  chiefs  powers  in 
local  matters,  including  authority  to  enforce  customary  tribal 
laws,  e.g.,  dealing  with  divorce,  child  custody  matters,  and 
property  disputes. 

f .   Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 
Correspondence 

Citizens  engaged  in  activity  deemed  objectionable  by  the 
Government  (which  sometimes  includes  the  peaceful  expression 
of  dissent)  are  subject  to  interference  with  regard  to  private 
conduct,  including  monitoring  of  telephones  and  mail.   There 
is  no  recourse  if  a  government  agency  is  wiretapping  or 
interfering  with  private  correspondence.   In  past  years, 
forced  entry  into  homes  has  been  reported  in  connection  with 
security  investigations. 

In  1990  the  PNDC  began  redefining  the  role  of  the  local 
Committees  for  the  Defense  of  the  Revolution,  which  previously 
functioned  as  neighborhood  watch  committees  and  reported 
individual  political  behavior  to  the  Government. 

Section  2   Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including: 

a.   Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

Freedom  of  speech  and  the  press  are  restricted.   Chairman 
Rawlings  frequently  laments  the  "culture  of  silence"  and  urges 
people  to  speak  out  on  local  community  concerns.   However,  few 
Ghanaians  have  openly  criticized  the  PNDC  or  challenged  its 
authority.   Following  the  first  public  forum  on  "Ghana's 
Political  Future"  in  July,  two  organizations — the  Kwame 
Nkrumah  Revolutionary  Guards  (which  espouses  the  politics  of 
Nkrumah's  Convention  Peoples'  Party)  and  the  Movement  for 
Freedom  and  Justice — publicly  criticized  the  PNDC's 
authoritarian  rule  and  called  for  removal  of  the  ban  on 
political  parties,  release  of  all  political  prisoners,  and 
convocation  of  a  constituent  assembly.   In  the  course  of  the 
seminars,  other  organizations  such  as  the  Ghana  Bar 
Association,  the  Trade  Union  Congress,  and  the  National  Union 
of  Ghanaian  Students  expressed  similar  criticisms. 

In  July  Chairman  Rawlings  spoke  at  the  first  of  a  series  of 
public  meetings  to  be  held  in  each  of  Ghana's  administrative 
regions  on  the  "evolving  democratic  process"  toward  "a  new 
constitutional  order"  in  Ghana.   The  meetings  focused  on  two 
issues:   improvement  of  the  current  district  assembly  system 


36-976  0-91 


146 


GHANA 

and  the  next  steps  for  increasing  public  participation  in  the 
political  process.   Critics  charged  that  the  PNDC  carefully 
controlled  the  meetings  and  that  participants  were  reluctant 
to  speak  freely.   After  some  initial  hesitation,  participants 
did  in  fact  express  their  views.   However,  the  PNDC  continues 
to  control  the  pace  of  political  reform  and  has  not  revealed  a 
timetable  or  specific  goals  for  liberalizing  the  political 
system. 

The  PNDC  ban  on  political  parties  remains  in  effect.   The 
newly  created  MFJ  was  denied  a  police  permit  for  a  public 
meeting  in  Kumasi,  and  its  members  have  encountered  some 
official  harassment.   Members  of  some  organizations,  including 
the  MFJ,  were  not  permitted  to  speak  at  the  public  meetings 
discussed  above  as  representatives  of  their  organizations. 
They  were  permitted  to  speak  as  individuals,  representing  only 
themselves . 

The  Government  owns  the  radio  and  television  stations  and  the 
two  principal  daily  newspapers.   Reporting  in  government-owned 
media  accentuates  positive  aspects  of  government  policies  but 
also  covers  selected  instances  of  corruption  and  mismanagement 
in  government  agencies  and  state-owned  enterprises.   In 
general,  media  criticism  of  government  policies  or  of  Chairman 
Rawlings  and  PNDC  members,  as  well  as  of  foreign  and  domestic 
policies,  is  not  tolerated.   Journalists  are  occasionally 
subject  to  discipline  or  dismissal  by  the  Government  for 
writing  articles  deemed  unacceptable. 

The  Government  does  not  censor  the  press — official  or 
private — on  a  daily  basis,  but  makes  clear  the  boundaries  of 
acceptable  commentary,  and  editors  and  writers  engage  in 
self-censorship.   On  occasion,  the  few  remaining  privately 
owned  newspapers  have  published  editorials  and  articles 
criticizing  Ghana's  foreign  policy  and  the  Economic  Recovery 
Program  (ERP) .   In  February  the  Ghanian  Times,  a 
government-owned  daily,  reported  that  the  Secretary  of 
Information  had  instructed  the  paper  to  discontinue  a  series 
of  articles  on  harassment  of  Chairman  Rawlings  and  other  PNDC 
officials  by  the  previous  government. 

A  few  foreign  periodicals  such  as  West  Africa,  Time,  and 
Newsweek  are  sold  freely  in  Accra  and  other  major  cities,  and 
even  issues  containing  articles  critical  of  Ghana's  Government 
are  allowed  to  circulate.   Most  Western  journalists  are  now 
routinely  accorded  visas  and  press  credentials  as  opposed  to 
the  practices  of  a  few  years  ago. 

Academic  freedom  is  subject  to  many  of  the  same  prohibitions 
on  political  expression  as  the  society  in  general,  although 
the  National  Union  of  Ghanaian  Students  (NUGS),  one  of  the 
more  vocal  critics  of  the  PNDC,  is  tolerated  and  allowed  to 
organize  and  hold  meetings.   In  September  NUGS  publicly 
criticized  the  PNDC ' s  public  meetings  on  Ghana's  political 
future.   It  called  for  a  referendum  at  the  conclusion  of  the 
national  debate  and  for  the  establishment  of  multiethnic 
political  parties  and  of  an  independent  commission  to 
guarantee  freedom  of  the  press. 

b.   Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

Freedom  of  assembly  and  association  is  restricted.   Persons 
generally  are  free  to  join  together  formally  or  informally  to 
promote  benevolent  or  nonpolitical  causes,  but  permits  are 
required  for  public  meetings  or  demonstrations,  and  these  are 


147 


GHANA 

seldom  granted  for  political  purposes,  particularly  if  the 
applicant's  views  are  at  odds  with  those  of  the  Government. 
The  MFJ,  created  in  July,  called  on  the  Government  to  allow 
greater  participation  in  the  national  debate.   In  August  the 
MFJ  issued  a  statement  of  principles  which  defended  the 
concept  of  multiparty  democracy  and  called  for  the 
establishment  of  a  democratic  government  which  respects  basic 
human  rights.   The  leadership  of  the  MFJ  was  "invited"  to  the 
BNI  on  the  day  this  statement  was  released  (see  Section  l.d.). 
That  same  month,  the  MFJ  was  not  permitted  to  hold  a  public 
outdoor  rally  in  Kumasi.   The  MFJ  had  previously  held  an 
indoor  rally,  attended  by  about  600  people  in  Accra.   At  that 
meeting,  the  MFJ  chairman  emphasized  that  the  MFJ  did  not  wish 
to  confront  the  PNDC .   Political  parties  and  political 
meetings  are  prohibited.   The  Government  barred  persons  with 
close  ties  to  the  old  parties  from  running  as  candidates  for 
election  to  the  district  assemblies  in  1988-89. 

c.   Freedom  of  Religion 

Although  there  is  no  state-favored  religion,  the  PNDC  reqnaires 
all  religious  organizations  to  register  with  the  Government 
and  has  prohibited  public  worship  by  the  Jehovah  Witnesses. 
Ghanaians  are  predominantly  Christian,  and  Christians  of  all 
sects  as  well  as  Muslims  are  well  represented  at  all  levels  of 
government.   There  are  no  apparent  advantages  or  disadvantages 
attached  to  membership  in  any  particular  sect  or  religion. 

PNDC  efforts  to  urge  the  major  religious  communities  to 
support  its  economic  and  social  policies  have  created 
tensions.   Chairman  Rawlings  publicly  criticized  the  Roman 
Catholic  Church  for  prohibiting  its  priests  from  participating 
in  the  district  assemblies.   The  PNDC  has  also  been  sensitive 
to  criticism  of  Ghana's  human  rights  record  by  leaders  of 
various  denominations.   PNDC  law  221  of  June  1989  requires  all 
religious  organizations  to  register  with  the  National 
Commission  on  Culture.   The  Commission  is  granted  authority  to 
deny  registration  and  the  right  to  worship  publicly  to  any 
religious  group  whose  actions,  it  concludes,  would  lead  to 
social  disruption  or  offend  the  morals  of  the  people.   The 
Government  requires  full  information  about  the  property  and 
financial  assets  of  the  churches  and  makes  the  boards  of 
governors  personally  liable  for  contraventions. 

The  Government  states  that  it  received  some  11,000 
applications  from  various  churches  wishing  to  register. 
However,  the  Roman  Catholic  Church  and  the  14  mainline 
Protestant  churches  which  belong  to  the  Christian  Council  have 
refused  to  register  on  grounds  that  PNDC  law  221  infringes  on 
freedom  of  religion.   By  the  end  of  1990,  the  Government  had 
made  no  effort  to  enforce  PNDC  law  221,  and  those  religious 
bodies  that  refused  to  register  continued  to  worship  freely. 

Also  in  June  1989,  the  Government  "froze"  the  assets  of  four 
churches,  two  indigenous  Christian  churches,  plus  the 
Jehovah's  Witnesses  and  the  Church  of  Jesus  Christ  of 
Latter-Day  Saints  (Mormons)  and  expelled  their  foreign 
personnel.   The  indigenous  churches  had  often  been  accused  of 
promoting  practices  offensive  to  the  general  community;  the 
Jehovah's  Witness  community  have  been  accused  of  not  showing 
proper  respect  for  the  symbols  of  Ghana's  Government;  and  the 
Mormons  were  accused  of  practicing  racism.   On  November  30, 
the  Government  rescinded  the  prohibition  on  the  Mormons  and 
announced  that  it  is  willing  to  review  the  Jehovah's  Witness 
case.   The  two  indigenous  churches  remain  "frozen." 


148 


GHANA 

Other  foreign  missionary  groups  have  generally  operated 
throughout  the  country  with  a  minimum  of  formal  restrictions, 
but  in  recent  years  some  foreign  missionaries  have  said  that 
obtaining  visas  and  residence  permits  is  becoming  more 
difficult. 

d.   Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

Ghanaians  and  foreigners  are  free  to  move  throughout  Ghana 
without  special  permission.   Police  checkpoints  exist 
countrywide  for  the  prevention  of  smuggling.   Roadblocks  and 
car  searches  are  a  normal  part  of  nighttime  travel  in  Accra. 
The  Government  frequently  impedes  departure  from  the  country 
for  its  perceived  opponents. 

As  members  of  the  Economic  Community  of  West  African  States 
(ECOWAS),  Ghanaians  may  travel  without  visas  for  up  to  90  days 
in  member  states.   Ghanaians  are  generally  free  to  exercise 
this  right,  and  nationals  of  other  member  states  are  free  to 
travel  to  Ghana.   Ghanaians  are  also  free  to  emigrate  or  to  be 
repatriated  from  other  countries.   If  a  person  is  considered  a 
security  threat,  special  permission  to  travel  outside  Ghana 
must  be  obtained. 

Ghanaian  authorities  denied  the  U.S.  Embassy  access  to  a 
detained  naturalized  American  citizen  in  1990  on  the  grounds 
that  he  had  entered  Ghana  on  a  Ghanaian  passport  rather  than 
on  an  U.S.  passport.   The  authorities  claimed  that  he  had  thus 
asserted  his  Ghanaian  citizenship  and  could  be  treated  as  a 
Ghanaian  and  not  as  an  American.   Ghanaian  law  does  not 
recognize  dual  citizenship. 

Since  the  last  half  of  1990,  Ghana  has  been  faced  with  a 
growing  refugee  population.   Liberians  fleeing  civil  war  began 
to  arrive  in  August;  by  November,  Ghana  was  hosting  some  8,000 
Liberian  refugees.   Most  of  the  new  refugee  population,  as 
well  as  many  transiting  third-country  nationals  who  also  fled 
Liberia,  were  housed  in  a  camp  set  up  by  the  United  Nations 
High  Commissioner  for  Refugees  (UNHCR)  and  the  Government  20 
kilometers  outside  Accra.   In  addition,  over  15,000  Ghanaians 
have  returned  to  their  home  villages,  often  imposing  great 
hardship  on  government  social  services. 

Prior  to  the  influx  of  Liberians,  Ghana  was  hosting 
approximately  150  refugees  registered  with  the  UNHCR. 

Section  3   Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

There  is  no  procedure  by  which  citizens  can  freely  and 
peacefully  change  their  laws,  officials,  or  form  of 
government.   Chairman  Rawlings  and  the  PNDC  exercise  total 
executive,  legislative,  and  administrative  power.   The  PNDC 
controls  the  National  Commission  for  Democracy  (NCD) 
established  in  1984  to  design  and  propose  "democratic" 
institutions  for  Ghana. 

In  December  1988,  and  in  January  and  February  1989,  the  PNDC 
held  elections  for  the  newly  created  district  assemblies.   The 
assemblies  have  limited  authority,  primarily  directed  toward 
local  development  activities. 


149 


GHANA 

Section  4   Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

There  are  no  known  locally  organized  human  rights  groups 
currently  dealing  with  human  rights  matters.   Several 
organizations — most  notably  the  Ghana  Bar  Association — have 
attempted  to  address  human  rights  issues  from  time  to  time. 
The  Government's  reactions  to  these  efforts  have  ranged  from 
indifference  to  active  discouragement. 

The  Government  is  sensitive  to  charges  of  abuse  of  human 
rights  and  stoutly  defends  its  practices,  although  it  takes 
few  constructive  actions  in  response  to  criticism.   The  PNDC 
is  particularly  critical  of  charges  from  human  rights  groups 
that  it  lacks  a  democratic  structure. 

The  Ghanaian  Government  permits  prison  visits  by  the 
International  Committee  of  the  Red  Cross. 

Section  5  Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

Although  ethnic  differences  are  intentionally  downplayed  by 
the  Government,  charges  are  occasionally  aired  that  the  PNDC 
and  the  political  leadership  are  dominated  by  the  Ewe  ethnic 
group  from  eastern  Ghana.   Chairman  Rawlings  and  a  number  of 
his  close  advisers  are  Ewe,  but  many  PNDC  secretaries  are  from 
other  ethnic  groups. 

The  Government  has  made  concerted  effort  to  raise  the  status 
of  women,  but  Ghanaian  women  remain  subject  to  some  forms  of 
societal  discrimination.   In  1985  the  PNDC  promulgated  four 
laws  which  overturned  many  of  the  customary,  traditional,  and 
colonial  laws  which  discriminated  against  women.   These 
concerned  family  accountability,  intestate  succession, 
customary  divorce  registrations,  and  the  administration  of 
estates.   Women  in  urban  centers  and  those  who  have  entered 
the  modern  sector  encounter  little  overt  bias,  but  resistance 
to  women  in  nontraditional  roles  persists.   Women  in  the  rural 
agricultural  sector  remain  subject  to  traditional  male 
dominance . 

Violence  against  women,  including  wife  beating,  occurs,  but, 
as  there  are  no  statistics  or  studies  available,  the  extent  of 
the  problem  is  unknown.   Police  do  not  normally  intervene  in 
domestic  disputes,  and  such  cases  seldom  come  before  the 
courts.   The  Government  has  not  addressed  the  issue  of 
violence  against  women,  but  it  discourages  the  practice  of 
female  circumcision,  although  it  has  not  made  it  illegal. 
Female  mutilation  (e.g.,  clitoridectomy)  is  practiced  in  the 
far  northeast  and  northwest  parts  of  the  country. 

Section  6  Worker  Rights 

a.   The  Right  of  Association 

While  the  Trade  Unions'  Ordinance  confers  broad  powers  on  the 
Government  to  refuse  to  register  a  trade  union,  the  PNDC  has 
not  interfered  with  the  right  of  workers  to  associate  in  labor 
unions.   Civil  servants,  however,  are  prohibited  by  law  from 
joining  or  organizing  a  trade  union.   Trade  unions  in  Ghana 
and  their  activities  are  still  governed  by  the  Industrial 
Relations  Act  (IRA).   The  independent  Trades  Union  Congress 
(TUC),  established  in  1958,  represents  organized  labor  in 


150 


GHANA 

Ghana.   It  has  been  the  sole  central  organization  since  its 
creation  before  Ghanaian  independence  when  it  became  closely 
linked  to  Nkrumah's  Convention  People's  Party,  but  it  has  been 
reorganized  on  a  number  of  occasions  including  by  a  radical 
pro-Rawlings  faction  following  the  military  coup  of  1981.   In 
1984,  the  leftist,  progovernment  slate  was  defeated  in  a  free 
election  by  experienced  union  leaders  who,  aided  by  a  revised 
union  constitution  and  bylaws,  have  sought  to  define  an 
autonomous  role  for  the  TUG  within  the  PNDC  regime. 

The  right  to  strike  is  recognized  in  law,  although  the 
Government  has  on  occasion  taken  strong  action  to  end  strikes, 
especially  those  which  threaten  interests  it  perceives  as 
vital.   Under  the  IRA,  the  Government  has  established  a  system 
under  which  it  seeks  first  to  conciliate,  then  arbitrate, 
disputes.   Again  in  1990  there  was  no  known  progress  in 
implementing  the  Government's  declared  intention  to  replace 
this  system  with  labor  tribunals  to  arbitrate  industrial 
disputes  certified  as  deadlocked. 

For  several  years  the  Committee  Of  Experts  (COE)  of  the 
International  Labor  Organization  (ILO)  has  criticized  various 
aspects  of  Ghanaian  legislation  pertaining  to  freedom  of 
association  which  make  the  right  of  workers  to  form  unions  of 
their  own  choosing  and  to  seek  recognition  as  bargaining 
agents  subject  to  government-formulated  criteria.   The  COE, 
again  in  1989,  expressed  the  hope  that  measures  would  be  taken 
to  bring  Ghana's  laws  into  conformity  with  ILO  Convention  87 
which  Ghana  ratified  in  1967. 

The  TUC  is  affiliated  with  the  Organization  of  African  Trade 
Union  Unity  (OATUU) .   Consistent  with  OATUU  guidelines,  the 
TUC  maintains  no  other  international  affiliations,  although  it 
has  friendly  relations  with  other  international  labor 
organizations,  including  the  International  Confederation  of 
Free  Trade  Unions  and  the  Communist-controlled  World 
Federation  of  Trade  Unions. 

b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

The  IRA  provides  a  framework  for  collective  bargaining  and 
some  protections  against  antiunion  discrimination  as  well. 
Ghana's  trade  unions  engage  in  collective  bargaining  for  wages 
and  benefits  with  both  private  and  state-owned  enterprises, 
though  in  the  latter  category  the  threat  of  detention  (a 
common  practice  in  the  early  1980 's)  hangs  over  union  leaders 
to  force  agreement  on  issues.   No  union  leaders  were  detained 
during  1990  for  union,  or  other,  activities.   There  are  no 
functioning  export  processing  zones  in  Ghana,  and  labor 
legislation  appears  uniformly  applied  throughout  the  country. 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

Ghanaian  law  prohibits  forced  labor,  and  it  is  not  known  to  be 
practiced.   For  a  number  of  years,  however,  and  again  in  1990, 
the  COE  has  urged  the  Government  to  revise  various  legal 
provisions  which  permit  imprisonment  with  an  obligation  to 
perform  labor  for  offenses  which  are  not  countenanced  under 
ILO  Convention  105,  ratified  by  Ghana  in  1958. 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

Labor  legislation  in  Ghana  sets  a  minimum  employment  age  of  15 
and  prohibits  night  work  and  certain  types  of  hazardous  labor 
for  those  under  18.   In  practice,  child  labor  is  prevalent. 


151 


GHANA 

and  young  children  of  school  age  can  often  be  found  during  the 
day  performing  menial  tasks  in  the  market  or  collecting  fares 
on  local  buses.   Observance  of  minimum  age  laws  is  eroded  by 
local  custom  and  economic  circumstances  which  encourage 
children  to  work  to  help  their  families.   Violators  of 
regulations  prohibiting  heavy  labor  and  night  work  for 
children  are  occasionally  punished.   In  two  or  three  instances 
in  1990,  the  Government  arrested  and  prosecuted  persons  on 
charges  of  transporting  underage  youths  from  one  part  of  the 
country  to  another  as  laborers. 

e.   Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

Minimum  standards  for  wages  and  working  conditions  are 
established  through  a  tripartite  committee  composed  of 
representatives  of  government,  labor,  and  employees.   It 
establishes  a  minimum  wage  rate,  and  other  salaries  are 
adjusted  accordingly.   Effective  January  1990,  the  national 
minimum  wage  was  increased  28  percent  to  $0.70  per  working  day 
at  current  exchange  rates.   The  current  "living 
wage" — consisting  of  the  national  minimum  wage  and  customary 
benefits  such  as  transportation  and  food  allowance — is  about 
$1.00  per  working  day;  the  TUC  estimates  the  daily  living 
costs  of  a  family  of  four  at  $5.00.   Thus,  the  existing 
minimum  wage  is  insufficient  for  a  single  wage  earner  to 
support  a  family.   In  most  cases  households  are  supported  by 
multiple  wage  earners,  some  family  farming,  and  other  family 
based  commercial  activities. 

The  basic  workweek  in  Ghana  is  40  hours.   Occupational  safety 
and  health  regulations  are  in  effect,  and  sanctions  are 
occasionally  applied  through  the  Labor  Department  of  the 
Ministry  of  Social  Welfare.   However,  Ministry  officials  are 
few  in  number  and  poorly  trained.   They  will  take  action  if 
matters  are  called  to  their  attention,  but  lack  the  resources 
to  seek  out  violations. 


152 


GUINEA 


Under  President  Lansana  Conte,  Guinea  has  been  governed  by  the 
Military  Committee  for  National  Recovery  (CMRN)  and  a  joint 
military  and  civilian  Council  of  Ministers  since  1984.   The 
regime,  which  came  to  power  following  the  26-year  rule  of 
Sekou  Toure,  suspended  the  constitution  and  rules  through 
ordinances,  decrees,  and  decisions  issued  by  the  President  and 
ministers.   On  December  23,  Guineans  voted  overwhelmingly  to 
adopt  a  constitution  which  provides  for  an  interim  period  of 
mixed  military/civilian  administration,  not  to  exceed  5  years, 
leading  to  an  elected  presidential  system  of  government,  with 
two  political  parties,  a  unicameral  legislature,  and  strict 
separation  of  powers.   The  President  announced  at  the  end  of 
1990  that  the  CMRN  would  be  replaced  in  early  1991  by  a  joint 
civilian/military  council  as  the  first  step  toward  applying 
the  new  Constitution. 

Military  and  paramilitary  forces  number  about  17,000  persons 
(although  accurate  figures  are  difficult  to  obtain),  with  the 
army  consisting  of  some  10,000  officers  and  soldiers.   The 
2,000-man  National  Guard  (Gendarmerie  Nationale) ,  a  police 
force,  and  a  well-armed  presidential  guard  provide  internal 
security.   Both  the  military  and  police  have  committed  human 
rights  abuses. 

Eighty  percent  of  Guinea's  population  of  7  million  is 
dependent  on  subsistence  agriculture.   Per  capita  annual 
income  is  estimated  to  be  as  low  as  $300.   Mineral  resources, 
mainly  bauxite,  diamonds,  and  gold,  are  the  major  exports. 
Under  President  Conte,  Guinea's  economic  reform  program  is 
attempting  to  reduce  the  size  of  the  civil  service,  the  main 
employer,  by  50  percent  and  diversify  the  small  salaried  work 
force,  primarily  through  the  creation  of  producers' 
associations  and  cooperatives  and  the  promotion  of  foreign 
investment.   However,  these  efforts  have  left  recent 
university  graduates  without  jobs,  especially  in  the  public 
sector,  a  sinecure  under  the  old  regime.   In  1990  there  was 
growing  government  concern  over  labor  and  student  unrest. 

Human  rights  remained  circumscribed  in  1990.   Major  concerns 
were  the  Government's  failure  to  curb  abuses  by  poorly 
disciplined  security  forces  and  arbitrary  arrest,  absence  of 
due  process,  restrictions  on  freedoms  of  speech,  press, 
assembly,  and  association,  and  on  the  right  of  citizens  to 
change  their  government  through  democratic  means. 
Acknowledging  these  concerns,  especially  those  in  the 
political  sphere,  the  Government  widely  publicized  in  1990  the 
new  draft  constitution,  prepared  by  a  committee  of  50  persons 
drawn  from  all  sectors  of  educated  Guinean  society.   The  new 
Constitution  provides  for  many  basic  rights,  including  a 
prohibition  on  torture  and  protection  against  arbitrary 
arrest.   The  Government  issued  a  general  amnesty  in  1990  for 
all  Guineans  convicted  of  political  crimes. 

RESPECT  FOR  HUMAN  RIGHTS 

Section  1   Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.   Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

There  were  no  reports  of  politically  motivated  killings  in 
Guinea  in  1990.   Police  killed  several  persons  in  putting  down 
civil  unrest  and  rioting  following  a  strike  (Section  6. a.)  and 
student  disorders  in  November  and  December  (Section  2.b.). 


153 


GUINEA 

b.  Disappearance 

There  were  no  reports  of  politically  motivated  disappearances. 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment 

The  Constitution  prohibits  torture  and  cruel,  inhuman  and 
degrading  treatment.   The  military  Government  continued  in 
1990  to  denounce  the  human  rights  atrocities  of  the  former 
Toure  dictatorship  and  publicly  proclaimed  its  support  of  the 
1965  penal  code,  which  forbids  torture  and  abuse  of 
authority.   However,  mistreatment  of  detainees  continued  and 
frequently  involved  severe  beatings.   The  police  and  soldiers 
are  widely  perceived  by  the  public  as  using  excessive  force. 
Officials  who  commit  such  abuses  are  rarely  punished;  there 
were  no  known  instances  of  punishment  in  1990. 

In  late  1989  six  Conakry  residents  were  arrested  for 
distributing  tracts  produced  by  an  opposition  group  located 
outside  the  country.   Reliable  sources  indicate  that  two  of 
the  six  were  beaten  while  in  custody,  and  the  six,  including 
Mohamed  Ali  Bangoura,  a  newspaper  distributor,  left  the 
country  after  spending  a  short  time  in  custody  in  Conakry.   In 
February  1990,  responding  to  a  complaint  from  Amnesty 
International,  the  Government  officially  denied  that  the 
incident  had  occurred. 

d.  Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

Ineffective  administrative  controls  and  limited  legal  recourse 
make  arbitrary  arrest  a  persistent  threat  to  Guineans .   Under 
the  law,  arresting  authorities  may  hold  a  suspected  criminal 
incommunicado  for  48  hours,  or  96  hours  if  an  extension  is 
granted  by  a  tribunal.   The  detainee  has  the  right  to  counsel 
only  after  appearing  before  a  judge.   Political  detainees, 
such  as  those  held  after  the  1985  coup  attempt,  have  been  held 
incommunicado  and  without  charge  for  much  longer  periods. 
Some  were  held  for  as  long  as  2  1/2  years.   In  recent  years, 
political  detainees  have  reportedly  been  held  incommunicado 
for  a  few  days . 

A  system  of  bail  for  those  accused  of  less  serious  crimes,  as 
defined  by  the  presiding  judge,  is  available  at  the  judge's 
discretion.   In  practice,  despite  presidential  admonitions  and 
campaigns  in  the  government-owned  media  against  corruption  and 
harassment  of  citizens,  security  elements  used  arbitrary 
detention  as  a  means  of  extortion.   Police  and  National  Guard 
officers,  for  example,  used  nightly  roadblocks  to  harass  or 
arrest  persons  in  an  effort  to  extort  money. 

Over  2  million  Guineans  fled  the  Sekou  Toure  regime.   The 
Government  has  encouraged  expatriate  Guineans  to  return  home, 
and  many  continued  to  do  so.   The  general  amnesty  announced  in 
February  applied  to  Guinean  exiles  as  well  to  people  still  in 
the  country  (see  Section  I.e.).   Significant  numbers  of 
Guineans  still  live  in  neighboring  African  countries  and  in 
France . 

e.  Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

Although  Guinean  law  provides  guarantees  of  due  process, 
administrative  inefficiencies,  corruption,  and  personnel 
deficiencies  make  the  administration  of  justice  erratic.   The 
Guinean  penal  code  provides  for  the  presumption  of  innocence 


154 


GUINEA 

of  accused  persons,  the  independence  of  judges,  the  equality 
of  citizens  before  the  law,  the  right  of  the  accused  to 
counsel,  and  the  right  to  appeal  a  judicial  decision.   The 
judiciary  is  susceptible  to  influence  by  the  executive; 
however  the  new  Constitution  affirms  the  judiciary's 
independence. 

The  judiciary  includes  the  courts  of  first  instance  (or 
justices  of  the  peace  at  the  local  level)  and  two  Courts  of 
Appeal  (one  in  Kankan,  one  in  Conakry).   The  Court  of  Assizes, 
which  is  supposed  to  meet  whenever  there  is  a  sufficient  case 
load,  convened  in  1990  for  the  first  time  since  1988, 
effectively  I'eaving  some  defendants  in  prison  for  3  years 
without  trial.   The  Court  of  Annulment  is  the  Guinean  court  of 
last  appeal.   A  special  Court  of  State  Security  was  created  in 
1985  to  try  those  allegedly  involved  in  the  July  coup 
attempt.   Guinean  law  provides  for  a  Court  of  State  Security 
under  certain  circumstances,  but  it  has  not  met  since  1985.   A 
Military  Tribunal  prepares  and  adjudicates  charges  against 
accused  military  personnel  but,  to  ensure  equality  before  the 
law,  since  1988  all  judgments  regarding  violations  under  the 
penal  code  are  rendered  by  civil  courts.   Trials  are  public. 
Those  accused  of  major  crimes  have  the  right  to  an  attorney  at 
public  expense  if  they  cannot  afford  counsel;  those  accused  of 
less  serious  crimes  may  appeal  to  the  Bar  Association  for  free 
legal  counsel,  although  many  remain  unaware  of  this 
possibility.   About  35  lawyers  are  accredited  with  the  Bar 
Association  and  are  engaged  in  private  practice. 

The  administration  of  justice  is  plagued  by  numerous 
problems:   The  insufficient  number  of  magistrates,  who  are 
often  poorly  trained;  an  outdated  and  overrestrictive  legal 
code;  and  corruption.   There  are  also  allegations  of  nepotism 
in  the  administration  of  justice,  with  relatives  of 
influential  members  of  the  Government  virtually  immune  from 
the  law.   The  Customs  Service,  the  Central  Bank,  and  the  Army 
have  all  been  involved  in  significant  scandals  in  1989-1990. 

There  is  a  traditional  system  of  justice  at  the  village  or 
urban  neighborhood  level  where  litigants  present  their  civil 
cases  before  a  village  chief,  neighborhood  chief,  or  council 
of  wise  men  for  judgment.   Justice  is  not  enforced  uniformly. 
For  example,  burglars  caught  in  urban  areas  are  sometimes 
beaten  to  death  by  victims  and  their  neighbors  with  the  tacit 
approval  of  police  authorities.   Authorities  have  publicly 
condemned  such  summary  justice,  but  neither  police  nor 
citizens  have  been  tried  and  punished  for  it.   The  dividing 
line  between  the  formal  and  traditional  justice  systems  is  not 
clearly  defined,  and  a  case  may  be  referred  from  the  formal  to 
the  traditional  system  to  ensure  compliance  with  the  judicial 
ruling  by  all  parties.   Conversely,  if  a  case  cannot  be 
resolved  to  the  satisfaction  of  all  parties  in  the  traditional 
system,  it  may  be  referred  to  the  formal  system  for 
adjudication. 

In  1990  the  Government  continued  to  receive  extensive 
criticism  for  its  secretive  handling  of  those  tried  by  the 
State  Security  Court  and  the  Military  Court  in  1986  for 
alleged  involvement  either  with  the  former  Toure  regime  or  the 
July  1985  coup  attempt.   In  response  to  such  criticism,  the 
Government  announced  on  February  16,  a  new  general  amnesty  for 
all  Guineans  convicted  of  political  crimes;  it  also  ordered 
the  restitution  of  all  property  seized  from  persons  involved 
in  the  attempted  coup  of  July  1985.   It  did  not,  however,  give 
the  names  of  the  persons  released  in  1990  (or  in  the  1987  and 


155 


GUINEA 

1988  amnesties),  and  the  fate  of  others  remained  unknown  at 
the  end  of  1990.   The  amnesty  did  not  restore  property  seized 
by  the  Government  following  the  April  1984  coup. 

The  number  of  political  prisoners  held  at  the  end  of  1990  was 
unknown.   Three  Guineans  were  arrested  in  N'Zerekore  in  August 
following  distribution  of  political  tracts  critical  of  the 
Government.   Two  were  convicted  of  violating  laws  on 
publications,  sentenced  to  3  months  in  prison,  and  released; 
one  was  convicted  of  fraud  as  well,  having  entered  Guinea  on 
false  papers,  and  was  sentenced  to  18  months  in  prison. 
Guinean  officials  have  informed  diplomatic  and  international 
human  rights  observers  that  there  are  no  longer  any  political 
detainees  or  prisoners  held  in  Guinea,  implying  that  all  those 
imprisoned  for  their  connection  with  the  1985  coup  have  been 
released. 

f .   Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 
Correspondence 

The  Government  stresses  traditional  family  values  and  the 
inviolability  of  the  home,  but  unwarranted  interference  in 
citizens'  lives  continues,  primarily  through  police 
harassment.   Security  officials  are  known  to  monitor  mail  and 
telephone  calls. 

Section  2   Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including: 

a.   Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

The  Government  has  publicly  stated  that  it  supports  free 
speech  and  a  free  press,  and  the  new  Constitution  promises  an 
unspecified  degree  of  freedom  of  expression,  subject  to 
limitation  by  law  and  regulation.   However,  citizens  do  not 
generally  feel  free  to  express  public  criticism  of  the 
Government,  although  criticism  of  government  officials  is 
heard  in  private  discussions. 

The  Government  owns  and  operates  the  news  media,  and  reporters 
(who  are  government  employees)  practice  self-censorship.   In 
1990  investigative  reporting  focused  on  social  ills  and 
unscrupulous  commercial  practices  (a  favorite  target  of 
official  criticism) ,  but  no  criticism  of  the  senior  levels  of 
government  or  established  policies  was  aired.   The  press 
provided  only  limited  and  biased  coverage  of  the  teachers' 
strike  in  March  and  subsequent  civil  unrest.   No  footage  of 
violent  confrontations  between  security  forces  and 
demonstrators  was  broadcast,  and  no  mention  of  the  casualties 
inflicted  by  security  forces  was  made  (see  Section  6.a.).   The 
Ministry  of  Information,  Culture  and  Tourism  continues  to  act 
both  as  administrator  and  censor  of  the  media.   At  least  one 
group  applied  for  a  permit  to  publish  an  independent 
newspaper;  they  had  not  received  a  response  by  the  end  of 
1990.   Publications  that  incite  crime  or  are  contrary  to  good 
morals  are  prohibited,  as  are  insult,  defamation,  and  libel. 

Several  signed  political  tracts  that  included  specific 
criticisms  of  the  President  and  other  officials  were 
distributed  widely  in  Conakry  and  other  Guinean  cities.   Ba 
Mamadou,  a  former  exile  now  living  in  Conakry  condemned  to 
death  in  absentia  by  Toure  for  criticizing  his  regime,  wrote  a 
series  of  tracts  criticizing  the  Government  for  its  failure  to 
combat  corruption  and  abuse  of  authority  and  for  its  excessive 
secrecy.   The  official  government  newspaper  responded  to  these 
widely  read  tracts  with  several  editorials  defending  the 


156 


GUINEA 

Government  and  attacking  Ba.   Clandestine  tracts  were  also 
common  and  sometimes  provoked  a  harsh  response  from  the 
Government . 

Foreign  publications,  some  of  which  include  criticism  of  the 
Government,  circulate  freely  in  Guinea.  There  is  no  attempt 
to  interfere  with  foreign  radio  broadcasts. 

b.  Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

Public  gatherings  may  take  place  only  with  the  approval  of  the 
Government.   The  Guinean  penal  code  bans  any  meeting  that  has 
an  ethnic  or  racial  character  or  any  gathering  "whose  nature 
threatens  national  unity."   The  Government  encourages  the 
formation  of  nonpolitical  professional  organizations,  and 
their  numbers  continue  to  increase. 

Protopolitical  groups,  including  discussion  groups,  and 
nascent  human  rights  organizations  were  active  in  Conakry  in 
1990.   Their  membership  has  so  far  been  drawn  for  the  most 
part  from  a  small  number  of  intellectuals  in  Conakry;  the 
groups'  impact  has  been  reduced  both  by  their  limited  access 
to  the  media  and  by  public  reticence  about  open  participation 
in  such  organizations. 

There  was  considerable  student  unrest  in  1990  over 
school-related  conditions  regarding  dormitories,  libraries, 
campus  security  and  food.   Police  used  deadly  force  to 
suppress  a  student  demonstration  in  November.   The  Government 
acknowledged  that  one  student  was  killed;  the  Guinean 
Organization  for  Human  Rights  (OFDH)  said  that  at  least  two 
others  were  killed  by  security  forces.   In  early  December,  at 
least  two  students  were  killed  when  police  dispersed 
demonstrators.   The  Government  reported  that  one  was  shot  by 
security  forces,  and  the  other  was  shot  by  another  student. 
Students  dispute  the  Government's  account.   There  were  no 
known  investigations  into  these  incidents  by  year's  end. 

c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

Large  religious  groups  enjoy  religious  freedom  and  tolerance, 
but  the  Government  and  the  quasi-governmental  National  Islamic 
League  (LIN)  have  spoken  out  against  the  proliferation  of 
"pseudo-sects  (within  Guinean  Islam)  generating  confusion  and 
deviation."   The  President  has  declared  that  the  LIN  is  the 
only  organization  with  responsiblity  for  coordinating  the 
observance  of  Islam  in  Guinea.   Although  an  estimated  85 
percent  of  the  population  is  nominally  Muslim,  there  is  no 
official  state  religion.   The  Government  observes  major 
Christian  and  Muslim  holidays.   Foreign  missionaries,  both 
Catholic  and  Protestant,  operate  freely  in  Guinea.   The 
state-owned  radio  and  television  stations  have  given  air  time 
to  Billy  Graham  crusades  and  provide  regular  slots  for  both 
Muslim  and  Christian  broadcasts. 

d.  Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

Guineans  are  free  to  move  about  the  country  and  change  their 
place  of  residence  and  work,  although  in  practice  they  face 
harassment  by  police  and  military  roadblocks,  particularly  at 
night.   It  is  common  for  citizens  to  pay  bribes  to  avoid 
police  harassment.   Foreign  travel  is  permitted,  although  the 
Government  retains  the  ability  to  limit  it  for  political 
reasons . 


157 


GUINEA 

The  Government  in  the  past  has  restricted  the  freedom  of 
movement  of  individual  citizens  for  political  reasons.   For 
example,  the  67  persons  granted  amnesty  at  the  end  of  1987 
were  restricted  to  their  area  of  origin  following  their 
release  from  prison,  although  this  restriction  was  lifted  as  a 
result  of  the  1990  amnesty. 

More  than  300,000  Liber ians  sought  refuge  in  Guinea  in  1990, 
principally  in  the  Guinea  forest  region.   The  Government 
worked  closely  with  the  United  Nations  High  Commissioner  for 
Refugees  (UNHCR)  and  many  other  international  and 
nongovernmental  organizations  to  provide  food  and  shelter  for 
the  refugees. 

Section  3   Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

Citizens  are  unable  to  change  their  government  through 
democratic  procedures.   The  military  Government  suspended  the 
Constitution  and  banned  political  parties  and  formal  political 
activity  when  it  took  power  in  April  1984.   The  new 
Constitution,  adopted  by  referendum  in  December,  provides  for 
a  transitional  period,  not  to  exceed  5  years,  of  mixed 
military/civilian  stewardship  leading  eventually  to  a 
two-party,  presidential  system  of  government  with  a  unicameral 
legislature  and  strict  separation  of  powers.   Some  structures 
of  the  future  government  such  as  the  those  of  the  judiciary 
will  be  determined  during  the  transitional  period. 

There  were  allegations  of  abuse  of  voting  procedures  at 
several  polling  places  in  the  constitutional  referendum  and 
results  from  several  prefectures  were  altered.   Nevertheless, 
most  informed  observers  agreed  that  those  irregularities  did 
not  significantly  affect  the  result. 

Section  4   Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

There  are  at  least  three  nascent  human  rights  organizations  in 
Conakry  that  have  begun  to  publicize  their  concerns  about  some 
human  rights  issues,  including  rehabilitation  of  the  victims 
of  Sekou  Toure's  oppression.   In  June  an  independent 
organization  calling  itself  the  Guinean  Organization  for  Human 
Rights  applied  to  the  Government  for  official  recognition.   It 
had  not  yet  received  a  response  by  the  end  of  1990.   The  group 
prepared  and  distributed  declarations  criticizing  the 
Government's  human  rights  performance  without  reprisals  from 
the  Government.   No  effort  was  made  to  interfere  with  the 
group's  meetings,  but  in  November  the  Government  responded 
with  its  security  forces  to  the  group's  attempt  to  hold  a 
demonstration  protesting  the  Government's  handling  of  unrest 
at  the  university  and  detained  some  members  of  the 
organization  for  up  to  3  days.   In  1990  senior  Government 
officials  met  with  representatives  of  the  International 
Committee  of  the  Red  Cross  concerning  humanitarian  issues, 
including  possible  prison  visits. 

Section  5   Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

While  racial  or  ethnic  discrimination  is  prohibited  by  the 
penal  code,  ethnic  identification  is  strong  in  Guinea,  and 
mutual  suspicion  affects  relations  across  ethnic  lines  within 
and  outside  the  Government.   Official  government  policy  is  to 


158 


GUINEA 

include  representatives  of  all  major  ethnic  groups  in  the 
Government,  but  the  Soussou  ethnic  group,  to  which  President 
Conte  belongs,  tends  to  predominate  at  the  highest,  most 
influential  levels.   A  disproportionate  number  of  police  are 
Malinke,  former  President  Toure ' s  ethnic  group.   Clandestinely 
circulated  opposition  tracts  frequently  play  on  ethnic 
tensions  to  stir  resentment  against  the  Government.   Many  of 
those  who  disappeared  after  the  1985  coup  came  from  the 
Malinke  ethnic  group.   There  is  still  awareness  of  caste  in 
traditional  environments,  but  there  is  no  significant 
discrimination  against  slave  castes  in  public  life. 

In  rural  Guinea,  opportunities  for  women  are  limited  by  custom 
and  the  traditional  demands  of  subsistence  farming.   The 
Government  has  affirmed  the  principle  of  equal  pay  for  ec[ual 
work,  but  in  practice  women  receive  less  pay  than  men  in  most 
jobs. 

Violence  against  women,  mainly  wife  beating,  is  prohibited 
under  criminal  law  and  is  a  ground  for  divorce  under  civil 
law.   However,  police  rarely  intervene  in  domestic  disputes, 
and  prosecution  of  wife  beaters  is  infrequent.   Health  workers 
in  Guinea  state  that  wife  beating  exists,  but  they  differ  in 
their  opinions  on  the  extent  cf  the  problem.   The  issue  has 
not  received  significant  publicity  or  government  attention. 

Female  genital  mutilation  (circumcision)  is  practiced  among 
all  religious  groups  in  Guinea:   Muslims,  Christians,  and 
animists.   According  to  Western  health  workers,  the  practice 
is  widespread  among  Guineans,  although  the  current  generation 
of  young  parents  is  more  reluctant  to  observe  this  custom. 
Grandmothers  will  frequently  see  to  the  circumcision  of  a 
granddaughter  even  when  the  parents  are  opposed.   The  most 
dangerous  form  of  circumcision,  inf ibulation,  is  not  practiced. 

Section  6  Workers  Rights 

a.  The  Right  of  Association 

The  National  Confederation  of  Guinean  Workers  (CNTG)  is  funded 
by  the  State,  and  all  of  Guinea's  salaried  workers  (many  of 
whom  are  civil  servants)  are  members.   While  the  CNTG  is 
technically  independent,  critics  charge  that  its  leadership 
remains  closely  tied  to  the  ruling  Military  Council  and 
refuses  to  uphold  the  union  statutes  drafted  following  the 
CNTG's  declared  independence  from  the  Government.   However,  an 
evolution  now  appears  to  be  taking  place  within  the  CNTG 
toward  a  more  representative  organization  based  on  collective 
action. 

Guinea's  new  labor  code,  drafted  with  the  assistance  of  the 
International  Labor  Organization  (ILO)  and  promulgated  in 
January  1988,  states  that  all  workers  have  the  right  to  create 
and  participate  in  organizations  that  defend  and  develop  their 
individual  and  collective  rights  as  workers.   The  code  also 
provides  that  workers  have  the  right  not  to  be  a  member  of 
such  organizations.   Further,  it  stipulates  that  a  union  must 
be  independent  of  political  parties  to  be  recognized  as 
representative  of  workers.   The  code  requires  elected  worker 
representatives  for  any  enterprise  employing  25  salaried 
workers.   At  the  end  of  1990,  it  was  not  clear  to  what  extent 
the  new  labor  code  was  being  fully  implemented. 

The  code  also  grants  salaried  workers  the  right  to  strike  10 
days  after  their  representative  union  makes  known  their 


159 


GUINEA 

intention  to  strike.   Many  CNTG  locals  showed  increased 
impatience  with  eroding  purchasing  power  in  1990.   A  teachers' 
strike  over  extremely  low  wages  in  March  sparked  civil  unrest 
in  which  the  police  killed  several  rioters,  none  of  whom  was  a 
striking  teacher.   The  Government  promised  teachers  and  other 
workers  a  significant  salary  hike  following  the  strike,  which 
was  later  fulfilled.   Bank  workers,  electric  workers,  workers 
at  the  CBG  bauxite  mine,  and  workers  at  the  Entag  cigarette 
factory  also  went  on  strike,  most  often  successfully.   The 
CNTG  belongs  to  the  Organization  of  African  Trade  Union  Unity. 

In  its  1989  report,  the  ILO's  Committee  of  Experts  (COE) 
commended  the  Government  for  the  new  labor  code,  but  observed 
that  the  law  still  permits  either  party  to  invoke  compulsory 
arbitration,  a  practice  that  could  limit  the  right  to  strike, 
according  to  the  Committee. 

b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

Under  the  new  code,  representative  workers'  unions  or  union 
groups  may  organize  the  workplace  and  negotiate  with  employers 
or  employer  organizations.   Union  delegates  are  to  represent 
individual  and  collective  claims  and  grievances  before  the 
employer , 

Work  rules  and  work  hours  established  by  the  employer  are  to 
be  developed  in  consultation  with  union  delegates.   Individual 
workers  threatened  with  dismissal  or  other  sanctions  have  the 
right  to  a  hearing  before  the  employer  with  a  union 
representative  present.   Employers  must  give  advance  notice  of 
any  plan  to  reduce  the  size  of  their  work  force  for  economic 
reasons . 

In  practice,  CNTG  representatives  take  the  lead  in 
labor/management  talks.   Collective  bargaining  has  taken 
place;  notably  in  the  resolution  of  a  series  of  strikes  in 
1990.   There  are  no  export  processing  zones. 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

The  labor  code  specifically  forbids  forced  or  compulsory  labor 
which  is  not  practiced.   The  COE  at  its  1990  session  again 
noted  the  Government's  stated  intention  to  revise  or  repeal 
various  obsolete  laws  to  bring  them  into  compliance  with  ILO 
conventions  on  forced  labor. 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

The  minimum  age  for  employment  in  practice  as  well  as  in  the 
new  code  is  16  years  of  age.   Apprentices,  however,  may  be  as 
young  as  14  years  old.   Workers  and  apprentices  below  age  18 
are  not  permitted  to  work  at  night  or  more  than  12  consecutive 
hours  or  on  Sundays.   According  to  the  labor  code,  the 
Minister  of  Labor  and  Social  Affairs  must  maintain  a  list  of 
occupations  in  which  women  and  youth  under  age  18  may  not  be 
employed.   Enforcement  of  the  Ministry  of  these  provisions  is 
limited  to  the  modern  sector  of  the  economy.   Children  of  all 
ages  work  on  family  farms. 

e.  Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

The  Government  has  not  yet  enacted  minimum  wage  legislation, 
but  the  labor  code  provides  for  the  eventual  establishment  by 
decree  of  a  guaranteed  minimum  hourly  wage.   There  are  also 
provisions  for  overtime  and  night  wages  which  are  fixed 


160 


GUINEA 

percentages  of  the  regular  wage.   Wages  currently  paid  the 
average  worker  in  the  public  sector,  about  $70  a  month,  are 
generally  not  sufficient  to  provide  a  decent  standard  of 
living,  and  workers  must  often  rely  on  some  subsistence 
agriculture  or  the  extended  family  for  additional  assistance. 
The  average  wage  rate  of  a  worker  in  the  mining  sector  is 
higher,  about  $160  per  month,  which  does  afford  a  satisfactory 
standard  of  living. 

According  to  the  code,  regular  work  is  not  to  exceed  10-hour 
days  or  48-hour  weeks,  with  a  40-hour  workweek  being  the 
norm.   The  minimum  weekly  day  of  rest  must  be  24  consecutive 
hours,  usually  on  Sunday.   Every  salaried  worker  has  the  right 
to  an  annual  paid  holiday  accumulated  at  the  rate  of  at  least 
2.5  workdays  per  month  of  service.   Several  articles  of  the 
code  provide  for  safe  working  conditions  and  the  continued 
good  health  of  workers,  and  labor  inspectors  are  empowered  to 
suspend  work  immediately  in  dangerous  situations.   These  as 
yet  represent  goals  rather  than  the  practice  and  are  not 
enforced.   The  Ministry  of  Labor  and  Social  Affairs  is 
supposed  to  enforce  labor  standards.   Labor  inspectors 
acknowledge  that  they  can  not  even  cover  Conakry  with  their 
small  staffs  and  meager  budgets;  at  the  same  time,  major  parts 
of  the  code  are  also  alleged  to  be  stifling  to  businesses  and 
inhibitive  to  foreign  investors. 


161 


GUINEA-BISSAU 


The  Republic  of  Guinea-Bissau  is  a  one-party  state  with  former 
or  present  military  leaders  in  key  positions.   General  Joao 
Bernardo  Vieira  serves  as  President  of  the  Council  of  State 
and  Head  of  State,  Commander-in-Chief,  and  General  Secretary 
of  Guinea-Bissau's  sole  political  party,  the  African  Party  for 
the  Independence  of  Guinea-Bissau  and  Cape  Verde  (PAIGC) .   In 
elections  held  in  June  1989,  Vieira,  the  only  candidate,  was 
elected  to  a  second  5-year  term  as  President.   The  1984 
Constitution  states  that  the  National  Assembly  decides 
fundamental  questions  of  policy,  but  effective  power  and 
day-to-day  decisions  rest  in  the  hands  of  the  President  and 
the  Council  of  State.   Although  the  President  is  the  most 
powerful  member  of  the  Council,  decisionmaking  is  collegial. 

The  armed  forces  (FARP)  are  responsible  for  state  security, 
both  external  and  internal.   FARP  leaders  are  usually  members 
of  the  PAIGC  and  often  hold  key  positions  in  the  Political 
Bureau  or  Central  Committee.   Security  forces  are  under  the 
full  control  of  the  Government.   Persons  accused  of  political 
crimes  are  tried  by  military  tribunals. 

Guinea-Bissau  remains  one  of  the  world's  least  developed 
nations,  and  most  of  the  1-million  population  is  engaged  in 
subsistence  agriculture.   More  than  70  percent  of  the 
population  is  illiterate.   The  Government's  central  control 
r  the  economy  failed  to  stimulate  agricultural  production  and 
resulted  in  chronic  shortages  of  most  basic  commodities, 
inefficient  state-owned  enterprises,  high  unemployment,  and  a 
weak  national  currency.   Beginning  in  late  1986,  the 
Government  launched  a  series  of  reforms  to  promote  long-term 
economic  growth  by  shifting  from  a  state-run  centralized 
economy  to  a  free  market  system.   While  the  reforms  spurred 
private  commercial  activity  and  improved  agricultural 
production,  in  1990  inflation  remained  high,  and  the 
purchasing  power  of  urban  residents  continued  to  erode. 

Human  rights  in  Guinea-Bissau  remained  circumscribed  in  1990, 
with  continuing  concerns  about  police  brutality,  arbitrary 
arrests,  lack  of  fair  trial,  and  restrictions  on  freedom  of 
speech,  press,  assembly,  and  association,  the  right  of 
citizens  to  change  their  government  peacefully,  and  worker 
rights.   However,  the  Government  announced  plans  for  reforms, 
including  the  introduction — after  a  2-year  transition 
period — of  a  presidential,  multiparty  political  system  and  a 
new  constitution  providing  for  basic  human  rights,  including 
freedom  of  speech  and  press.   The  future  course  was  widely 
publicized  throughout  the  year  and  scheduled  to  be  the  subject 
of  an  extraordinary  party  congress  in  January  1991.   Early  in 
the  year  the  Government  released  the  22  remaining  prisoners 
convicted  for  participation  in  the  1985  coup  attempt,  and 
President  Vieira  stressed  repeatedly  that  there  were  no 
political  detainees  or  prisoners  in  Guinea-Bissau. 

RESPECT  FOR  HUMAN  RIGHTS 

Section  1  Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.   Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

There  were  no  reports  of  politically  motivated  killing. 


162 

GUINEA-BISSAU 

b.  Disappearance 

There  were  no  known  cases  of  disappearance. 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment 

The  Constitution  prohibits  cruel  and  inhuman  punishment. 
However,  security  authorities  employ  harsh  interrogation 
methods,  especially  severe  beatings.   Amnesty  International 
(AI)  continued  to  be  concerned  about  allegations  of  police 
brutality  during  interrogations.   There  were  no  known 
investigations  or  punishment  of  officials  responsible  for  such 
abuses . 

d.  Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

Arrests  in  Guinea-Bissau  are  frequently  arbitrary,  as  arrest 
procedures  are  undefined,  and  the  use  of  arrest  warrants  is 
the  exception  rather  than  the  rule.   The  legal  system, 
inherited  from  the  Portuguese  but  modified  by  the  1984 
Constitution,  includes  important  procedural  rights,  such  as 
the  right  to  counsel  and  the  right  to  a  judicial  determination 
of  the  legality  of  detention,  but  these  are  sometimes  ignored 
in  practice.   In  November,  a  presidential  adviser/speech 
writer  was  arrested,  interrogated,  and  then  placed  under  house 
arrest  for  several  weeks  after  being  identified  as  the  source 
of  an  article  critical  of  President  Vieira  which  appeared  in  a 
Portuguese  newspaper.   It  is  not  known  whether  he  was  ever 
officially  charged  with  an  offense.   Bail  procedures  are 
observed  erratically. 

The  Government  has  held  persons  without  charge  or  trial, 
sometimes  for  extended  periods  of  time,  including  in 
incommunicado  detention.   The  Government  has  the  legal  right 
to  exile  prisoners  but  has  not  done  so  in  recent  years. 

e.  Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

Traditional  law  still  prevails  in  most  rural  areas,  and  many 
urban  dwellers  continue  to  bring  judicial  disputes  to 
recognized  traditional  counselors.   With  some  exceptions,  the 
official  judicial  system  is  based  on  the  Portuguese  model. 
Intervals  between  arrest  and  trial  are  often  lengthy.   Defense 
lawyers  traditionally  have  been  court  appointed.   Private 
legal  practice  became  legal  and  permissible  only  in  1990.   The 
judiciary  is  part  of  the  executive  branch.   Trials  involving 
state  security  usually  are  not  open  to  outside  observers  and 
are  conducted  by  military  tribunals.   Armed  forces  members  are 
tried  by  military  courts  for  all  offenses.   The  Supreme  Court 
is  the  final  court  of  appeal  for  both  civilian  and  military 
cases,  except  those  involving  national  security  matters,  in 
which  the  Council  of  State  reviews  all  decisions. 

The  Government  publicized  widely  its  January  1990  decision  to 
grant  amnesty  to  all  22  prisoners  who  had  been  incarcerated  in 
connection  with  the  1985  coup  attempt.   Sixteen  individuals 
were  released  from  custody  after  serving  less  than  half  their 
terms  of  12  to  15  years'  imprisonment.   Six  other  persons 
implicated  in  the  abortive  coup,  who  originally  had  been 
sentenced  to  death  but  later  had  their  sentences  commuted  to 
15  years'  imprisonment,  were  released  to  house  arrest  on 
islands  in  the  Bijagos  Archipelago,  where  living  conditions 
are  reportedly  very  harsh.   In  numerous  speeches  during  1990, 
President  Vieira  declared  there  were  no  more  political 


163 


GUINEA-BISSAU 

detainees  or  prisoners  in  Guinea-Bissau.   President  Vieira 
also  called  for  the  justice  system  to  become  efficient,  free 
of  corruption,  and  capable  of  providing  justice,  but  no 
specific  steps  had  been  taken  by  the  end  of  the  year. 

f.   Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 
Correspondence 

Constitutional  guarantees  of  the  inviolability  of  domicile, 
person,  and  correspondence  are  not  always  respected  in  cases 
of  serious  crimes  or  state  security.   International  and 
domestic  mail  is  subject  to  surveillance  and  censorship. 
While  membership  in  the  PAIGC  is  not  compulsory,  most — though 
not  all — government  appointments  have  gone  to  party  members. 

Section  2  Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including: 

a.  Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

The  Constitution  provides  for  freedom  of  intellectual, 
artistic,  and  scientific  expression,  except  when  exercised  in 
a  manner  "contrary  to  the  promotion  of  social  progress."   In 
fact,  these  freedoms  are  severely  restricted.   The  Government 
controls  all  information  media  and  views  the  press  as  a 
vehicle  of  the  Government.   Journalists  are  government 
employees  and  practice  self-censorship  to  maintain  their 
positions.   In  1990,  however,  as  government  leaders  openly 
discussed  democratization  and  political  reform,  there  was  an 
increase  in  candid  discussion  of  the  country's  problems  and 
government  policies,  including  in  the  press  to  some  extent. 
For  example,  in  the  one  irregularly  published  newspaper,  there 
were  criticisms  of  the  former  Minister  of  Health  and 
allegations  of  corruption  within  that  ministry. 

b.  Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

The  Constitution  provides  for  freedom  of  assembly  and 
association,  but  political  meetings  and  associations  are  not 
yet  tolerated.   Despite  discussions  of  reform,  all  existing 
organizations  remained  linked  to  the  Government  or  the  party, 
including  the  sole  labor  union,  the  National  Union  of  Workers 
of  Guinea-Bissau.   Government  approval  is  not  required  for 
peaceful,  nonpolitical  assemblies  and  demonstrations. 

c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

Religious  freedom  is  provided  for  in  the  Constitution  and  is 
respected  in  practice.   Christians,  Muslims,  and  animists 
worship  freely,  and  proselytizing  is  permitted.   However, 
religious  groups  must  be  licensed  by  the  Government.   In  1990 
there  were  no  reports  of  groups  being  refused  licenses. 

d.  Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

Citizens  are  allowed  to  move  freely  throughout  Guinea-Bissau. 
Foreign  travel  is  not  restricted,  nor  is  citizenship  revoked 
for  political  reasons.   Thousands  of  persons  have  emigrated 
for  economic  reasons  over  the  past  three  decades.   While 
sympathetic  to  the  principle  of  asylum,  Guinea-Bissau  does  not 
host  significant  numbers  of  refugees.   However,  in  1990  at 
least  2,000  Senegalese,  fleeing  violence  between  the 
Senegalese  military  and  Casamance  separatists,  sought  refuge 
in  northern  Guinea-Bissau.   The  United  Nations  High 


164 


GUINEA-BISSAU 

Commissioner  for  Refugees  sought  to  assist  the  Government  in 
settling  the  Senegalese  refugees. 

Section  3  Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

In  1990  citizens  did  not  enjoy  the  right  to  change  their 
government  or  the  form  of  government  peacefully  and  legally. 
Guinea-Bissau  has  been  led  by  the  PAIGC  party  and  military 
elite,  headed  by  President  Joao  Bernardo  Vieira.   By  the  terms 
of  the  1984  Constitution,  all  political  activity  takes  place 
within  the  party  and  state  structure.   Candidates  for  the  1989 
election  for  the  National  Popular  Assembly  at  the  district, 
regional,  and  national  levels  were  approved  by  the  party, 
although  not  all  candidates  were  members  of  the  PAIGC.   Voting 
on  the  proposed  electoral  slates  was  cast  by  secret  ballot. 
The  President,  members  of  the  Council  of  State,  and  deputies 
of  the  National  Popular  Assembly  were  elected  to  5-year 
terms.   There  are  provisions  for  constitutional  amendments  and 
national  referendums  initiated  by  the  National  Popular 
Assembly,  but  the  Assembly  has  never  taken  such  initiatives, 
and  it  meets  infrequently. 

The  PAIGC  party  congress,  held  in  the  summer,  focused  (and  the 
extraordinary  party  congress  scheduled  for  January  1991  will 
focus)  on  potentially  far-reaching  decisions  to  begin  a  2-year 
transition  to  a  more  representative  system  of  government, 
beginning  in  early  1991.   Over  this  2-year  period,  the 
country's  Constitution  is  to  be  revised  and  debated  and 
legislation  drawn  up  to  establish  a  presidential,  multiparty 
system  of  government  by  universal,  direct,  and  secret  ballot. 
If  approved  and  fully  implemented,  the  new  constitution  would 
provide  for  a  number  of  protections,  including  freedom  of 
speech  and  press.   The  PAIGC  leadership  also  accepted  the  need 
to  open  up  the  political  party,  renewing  it  through  additional 
membership  and  allowing  greater  "internal  democracy"  within 
the  existing  one-party  structure. 

No  single  ethnic  group  dominates  party  and  government 
positions,  but  Papel  and  Creole  (mixed-race)  groups, 
predominantly  located  in  and  around  the  capital  of  Bissau,  are 
disproportionately  represented  in  the  Government. 

Section  4   Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

There  are  no  local  human  rights  groups  in  Guinea-Bissau. 
Although  international  human  rights  groups  have  visited 
Guinea-Bissau,  their  visits  have  been  tightly  controlled.   An 
AI  mission  held  discussions  in  1986  with  President  Vieira  and 
other  key  officials  and  attended  one  session  of  a  treason 
trial  then  taking  place.   However,  the  Government  has  not 
responded  to  AI ' s  later  request  that  an  independent  commission 
examine  various  human  rights  issues,  including  the  issue  of 
police  brutality. 

Section  5   Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

The  population  of  Guinea-Bissau  is  composed  of  diverse  tribal 
groups,  each  with  its  own  language,  customs,  and  social 
organization.   The  Balanta,  Fula,  Mandinka,  Manjaco,  and  Papel 
are  important  groups,  and  there  are  several  smaller  minority 
ethnic  groups.   Creoles  enjoy  an  advantageous  position  within 


165 


GUINEA-BISSAU 

the  society  due  to  their  generally  higher  level  of  education 
and  their  links  abroad.   Although  the  President  and  other 
influential  leaders  regularly  urge  the  nation  to  overcome 
ethnic  differences,  the  economic  dominance  of  Creoles  (and  to 
a  lesser  extent  Mandinkas  and  Fulas)  has  created  resentment 
among  other  ethnic  communities.   Most  of  the  defendants  in  the 
1986  coup  trial  were  members  of  the  Balanta,  the  largest 
ethnic  group  (30  percent). 

While  officially  prohibited,  discrimination  against  women 
persists  within  certain  ethnic  groups,  especially  among  the 
Muslim  Fulas  and  Mandinkas  of  the  north  and  east.   The 
practice  of  female  circumcision  is  still  widespread  among 
these  groups  despite  official  prohibition  and  educational 
campaigns  against  this  custom.   Women  enjoy  higher  status  in 
the  societies  of  the  Balanta,  Papel,  and  Bijagos  groups  living 
mainly  in  the  southern  coastal  region.   Women  as  a  general 
rule  do  not  have  equal  educational  opportunities  with  men. 
There  are  far  fewer  women  in  salaried  employment  than  men. 
Perhaps  in  recognition  of  the  discrimination  suffered  by 
women,  the  Government  established  a  Ministry  of  Women's 
Welfare  in  1990. 

Physical  violence,  including  wife  beating,  is  reportedly 
widespread  and  is  used  as  a  means  of  settling  domestic 
disputes  among  all  ethnic  groups.   Police  rarely  intervene  in 
domestic  disputes  unless  requested,  and  redress  is  not 
ordinarily  sought  in  the  regular  courts.   The  Government  has 
not  undertaken  specific  measures  to  raise  the  public 
consciousness  of  women  or  to  reduce  violence  against  them, 
aside  from  forming  the  Union  of  Democratic  Women,  a  women's 
organization  sponsored  by  the  PAICG. 

Section  6  Worker  Rights 

a.  The  Right  of  Association 

While  the  Constitution  provides  for  freedom  of  association  and 
while  there  is  new  thinking  within  the  PAIGC  on  labor,  the 
reality  is  that  only  one  labor  union,  the  National  Union  of 
Workers  of  Guinea-Bissau  (UNTG) ,  exists  in  Guinea-Bissau. 
With  strong  ties  to  the  PAIGC,  the  UNTG  more  closely  resembles 
a  mass  party  organization  than  an  independent  union.   The  UNTG 
is  neither  aggressive  nor  effective  in  promoting  workers 
rights.   Public  employees  are  permitted  to  join  the  UNTG. 

While  not  specifically  forbidden,  strikes  do  not  occur.   Since 
the  Government's  use  of  force  to  disperse  students  attempting 
to  strike  in  1981,  workers  have  been  reluctant  to  go  on  strike 
for  fear  of  forceful  government  reaction.   In  a  major  change, 
if  implemented,  the  Government  publicly  committed  itself  in 
1990  to  instituting  the  freedom  of  labor  to  organize  unions 
with  the  right  to  strike.   There  was  no  progress  on  this  issue 
by  the  end  of  the  year . 

The  UNTG  is  affiliated  with  the  Communist-controlled  World 
Federation  of  Trade  Unions  and  is  a  member  of  the  Organization 
of  African  Trade  Union  Unity. 

b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

Of  the  estimated  28,000  salaried  workers  in  the  country, 
approximately  50  percent  are  employees  of  the  Government. 
Guinea-Bissau's  small  manufacturing  sector  employs  fewer  than 
5,000  persons.   The  scarcity  of  salaried  jobs  has  forced 


I 


166 


GUINEA-BISSAU 

workers  (whether  private  or  public)  to  focus  on  obtaining  and 
keeping  employment  rather  than  on  organizing  and  bargaining. 
The  Constitution  does  not  provide  and  protect  the  right  to 
organize  and  bargain  collectively.   The  General  Labor  Act  of 
1986  does  guarantee  a  limited  degree  of  collective  bargaining 
and  prohibits  antiunion  discrimination,  but  these  provisions 
do  not  apply  to  the  bulk  of  public  workers.   In  practice, 
however,  workers  are  not  permitted  to  exercise  these  rights. 

The  Committee  of  Experts  (COE)  of  the  International  Labor 
Organization  noted  that  the  provisions  in  the  labor  law 
against  antiunion  discrimination  do  not  appear  to  be 
accompanied  by  penal  sanctions  against  employers,  and  that  the 
General  Labor  Act  is  not  applicable  to  workers  in  the  public 
service.   The  COE  also  pointed  out  that  public  servants  who 
are  not  engaged  in  the  administration  of  the  State  should  be 
able  to  enjoy  the  right  of  collective  bargaining. 

There  are  no  export  processing  zones  in  Guinea-Bissau,  and 
labor  laws  are  applicable  throughout  the  country. 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

Forced  or  compulsory  labor  is  not  permitted  by  law  and  is  not 
known  to  exist.   There  are  no  penal  sanctions  for  offenders, 
however,  and  the  Government  lacks  the  means  to  provide 
adequate  labor  inspections. 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

The  General  Labor  Act  of  1986  established  a  minimum  age  of  14 
for  general  factory  labor  and  of  18  for  heavy  or  dangerous 
labor,  including  all  labor  in  mines.   These  minimum  age 
requirements  are  generally  followed  in  the  small  wage  sector, 
but  there  is  minimum  enforcement.   In  an  overwhelmingly  rural 
and  agricultural  society,  the  traditional  division  of  labor 
practices  both  between  sexes  and  age  groups  continues  to 
prevail.   Children  in  rural  communities  do  domestic  and  field 
work  for  no  pay.   The  Government  does  not  attempt  to 
discourage  this  practice  and,  in  fact,  delays  the  opening  of 
schools  until  the  rice  harvesting  season  has  ended. 

e.  Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

Even  in  the  small  wage  sector,  labor  laws  are  unevenly 
enforced  due  primarily  to  the  extreme  economic 
underdevelopment  of  the  country  and  the  vagaries  of  the  legal 
system.   However,  there  are  government  regulations  governing 
such  matters  as  job-related  disabilities  and  vacation  rights. 
The  maximum  number  of  hours  permitted  in  a  normal  workweek  is 
45  hours.   Although  not  consistently  enforced,  a  minimum  wage 
of  approximately  $13  a  month  is  mandated  by  the  Ministry  of 
Civil  Service.   The  wage  is  inadequate  to  maintain  even  a 
minimum  standard  of  living,  and  workers  must  supplement  their 
income  through  reliance  on  the  extended  family  and  subsistence 
agriculture.   Existing  legal,  health,  and  safety  standards  for 
workers  are  not  enforced  in  a  uniform  or  comprehensive  manner. 


167 


KENYA 


Kenya,  which  has  had  elected  civilian  government  since 
independence  in  1963,  has  been  a  de  jure  one-party  state  since 
a  constitutional  amendment  in  1982.   President  Daniel  T.  arap 
Moi  remains  firmly  in  control  of  both  the  Government  and  the 
sole  party,  the  Kenyan  African  National  Union  (KANU) .   KANU 
membership  is  a  prerequisite  for  participation  in  politics  in 
Kenya.   The  popularly  elected  National  Assembly  (a  unicameral 
parliament)  of  188  members  (including  10  appointed  by  the 
President  and  2  ex  officio  members)  has  little  independent 
power  in  national  political  affairs,  but  its  sessions  provide 
a  forum  for  its  members  to  raise  local  or  regional  issues. 

The  internal  security  apparatus  includes  the  police  Criminal 
Investigation  Department  (CID),  the  paramilitary  general 
services  unit  (GSU),  and  the  Directorate  of  Security  and 
Intelligence  (DSI  or  Special  Branch) .   The  CID  and  Special 
Branch  investigate  criminal  activity  and  are  also  used  to 
monitor  dissidents  and  others  whom  the  State  considers 
subversive.   The  internal  security  apparatus  has  been  used  to 
intimidate  and  harass  politicians,  opponents  of  the 
Government,  and  dissidents,  freqxiently  by  calling  them  in  for 
questioning  on  political  topics,  and  it  has  committed  some 
abuses.   General  Services  Unit  personnel  were  employed  in 
February  and  July  1990  to  suppress  rioting. 

Kenya's  modern,  market-oriented  economy  includes  a 
well-developed  private  sector  for  trade  and  light 
manufacturing  as  well  as  an  agricultural  sector  that  provides 
food  for  local  consumption  and  substantial  exports  of  coffee, 
tea,  and  other  commodities.   The  well-developed  tourism 
industry  remained  the  top  foreign  exchange  earner  in  1990  but 
suffered  setbacks  from  riots  in  July  and  subsequent  political 
tensions  that  resulted  in  major  cancelations.   Although 
economic  growth  continued,  a  persistently  high  population 
growth  rate  contributed  to  a  serious  and  growing  problem  of 
unemployment . 

During  1990  the  Government  responded  to  agitation  for 
political  change  by  further  restricting  human  rights  and,  at 
year's  end,  by  taking  a  number  of  positive,  but  limited, 
steps.   Early  in  the  year,  some  Kenyans  began  to  call  for  a 
review  of  Kenya's  political  structure  and  adoption  of  a 
multiparty  system.   After  a  period  of  vigorous  but  peaceful 
debate  on  the  issue,  the  Government,  acting  on  the  belief  that 
a  public  rally  in  support  of  a  multiparty  system  was  to  be 
held  on  July  7  under  the  sponsorship  of  former  cabinet 
ministers  Kenneth  Matiba  and  Charles  Rubia,  detained  Rubia, 
Matiba,  and  four  others  under  the  Preservation  of  Public 
Security  Act  (PPSA)  and  banned  the  rally.   However,  on  July  7 
rioting  broke  out  in  Nairobi  and  other  towns.   The  Government, 
responding  forcibly,  restored  order  by  July  11.   At  least  20 
people  died,  more  than  70  were  injured,  and  over  1,000  were 
arrested.   Subsequently,  the  Government  charged  approximately 
100  persons  with  sedition,  most  of  them  for  possessing  public 
domain  material  which  was  critical  of  the  Government. 

Throughout  the  remainder  of  the  year,  the  Government  continued 
to  intimidate  and  harass  a  number  of  other  persons  advocating 
political  reform,  including  union  leaders,  former  Members  of 
Parliament  (M.P.'s),  associates  of  unpopular  government 
critics.   In  October  the  Government  arrested  former  M.P.  Koigi 
Wa  Wamwere.   Wamwere  and  six  others  were  charged  with  treason. 


168 


KENYA 

The  Government  also  banned  the  preeminent  magazine  involved  in 
the  multiparty  debate,  the  Nairobi  Law  Monthly,  (but  the  ban 
was  lifted  by  the  High  Court),  banned  one  non-Christian 
religious  group,  and  brought  criminal  charges  against  members 
of  another  sect.   In  response  to  pressure  for  political 
change,  the  party  established  a  Review  Committee  to  examine 
the  electoral  process,  nomination  rules,  and  disciplinary 
procedures.   The  Review  Committee  held  hearings  country-wide 
during  July  and  August  (see  Section  3),  and  at  year's  end  the 
party  abolished  queue-voting  and  modified  several  other 
electoral  procedures  in  response  to  citizen  comments.   In  a 
related  development.  President  Moi  initiated,  and  Parliament 
passed,  a  constitutional  amendment  to  interpose  a  tribunal, 
appointed  by  the  President,  in  case  of  removal  from  office  of 
judges  and  several  other  public  officials.   Areas  of  human 
rights  abuse  included  abuse  of  prisoners,  arbitrary  arrest  and 
detention,  and  restrictions  on  freedom  of  speech,  press, 
assembly,  association,  and  the  right  to  change  one's 
government . 

RESPECT  FOR  HUMAN  RIGHTS 

Section  1  Respect  for  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.  Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

Foreign  Minister  Robert  Ouko  was  murdered  in  mid-February 
under  mysterious  circumstances.   At  the  request  of  the  Kenyan 
Government  a  team  of  Scotland  Yard  investigators  began  an 
investigation  February  20.   The  final  report,  delivered  to  the 
Kenyan  Government  September  28,  had  not  been  released  to  the 
public  by  the  end  of  1990.   President  Moi,  who  promised  to 
find  and  punish  the  perpetrators,  appointed  a  judicial 
commission  of  inquiry  October  1  to  continue  the  investigation 
into  Ouko ' s  death,   At  year's  end  the  commission  was  still 
taking  testimony.   There  has  been  no  official  conclusion  as  to 
the  guilty  party. 

The  security  forces  and  demonstrators  clashed  at  the  site  of  a 
banned  rally  on  July  7,  touching  off  disturbances  that  lasted 
several  days,  and  which  resulted  in  20  persons  killed  and  70 
injured.   The  Government  attributed  the  casualties  to 
rampaging  mobs  or  traffic  accidents  caused  by  the  rioting  and 
claimed  that  an  unspecified  number  were  shot  by  security 
forces  while  looting,  stealing,  or  burning  vehicles. 

A  suspect,  Rajirdagane  Baraki,  died  September  18  while  under 
treatment  for  wounds  allegedly  inflicted  while  in  police 
custody.   The  incident  was  investigated,  but  no  charges  were 
brought . 

b.  Disappearance 

There  were  no  reports  of  disappearances. 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  and  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment 

Torture  is  proscribed  under  the  Constitution,  but  there 
continued  to  be  credible  reports  of  police  brutality  and  abuse 
of  prisoners  in  1990.   Four  persons  charged  July  25  with 
taking  part  in  a  meeting  to  overthrow  the  Government  claimed 
before  the  High  Court  that  they  were  subjected  to  extremely 
harsh  conditions  in  police  custody.   The  men,  George  Anyona, 


169 


KENYA 

twice  detained  and  a  former  M.P.;  Isaiah  Ngotho  Kariuki,  a 
university  lecturer;  Dr.  Edward  Akongo  Oyugi,  also  a 
university  lecturer;  and  Augustus  Njeru  Kathangu,  a  KANU  Party 
official,  charged  that  they  were  interrogated  while  naked  and 
kept  incommunicado  in  dark  rooms  flooded  with  water.   They 
also  charged  that  they  were  not  allowed  to  speak  freely  with 
their  attorneys  and  other  visitors.   In  early  October,  the 
four  withdrew  their  suit  against  the  Government  for 
mistreatment  and  asked  that  their  cases  proceed  to  trial 
immediately. 

Koigi  Wa  Wamwere  and  his  coaccused,  who  were  charged  with 
treason  late  in  the  year,  alleged  that  they  were  tortured  and 
subjected  to  inhuman  treatment.   In  an  affidavit  filed 
December  17,  Wamwere  claimed  to  have  been  subjected  to 
psychological  abuse  and  physical  discomfort  in  an  effort  to 
compel  him  to  make  statements. 

A  Presbyterian  minister  jailed  for  6  years  on  a  sedition 
charge.  Reverend  Lawford  Imunde,  appealed  to  the  High  Court 
for  immediate  release  in  April,  alleging  that  his  guilty  plea 
was  extracted  by  Special  Branch  officers  through  cruelty, 
torture,  inhuman  treatment,  and  false  promises  of  release. 
The  appeal  was  denied  (see  also  Section  i.e.).   In  March  an 
ex-detainee,  David  Mukaru  Ng'ang'a,  unsuccessfully  sought  an 
injunction  to  restrain  the  Commissioner  of  Police  from 
arresting,  detaining,  harassing  or  otherwise  unlawfully 
intimidating  him.   He  claimed  that  he  had  been  subjected  to 
physical  and  mental  torture  when  detained  for  90  days  in  1989 
under  the  PPSA.   Ng'ang'a  said  he  was  forced  to  stay  naked  for 
long  periods  and  kept  in  water.   There  were  few  instances  in 
1990  of  officials  being  tried  and  punished  for  human  rights 
abuses.   In  one  instance  the  Government  paid  compensation  to 
the  family  of  a  Zairean  who  died  in  police  custody.   Three 
police  officers  in  Kakamega  were  charged  with  the  murder  of  a 
student  and  his  brother  who  died  during  a  confrontation. 

d.   Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

The  Constitution  provides  that  arrested  persons  (other  than 
those  detained  under  the  Preservation  of  Public  Security  Act) 
shall  be  brought  before  a  court  "as  soon  as  is  reasonably 
practicable,"  and  that  if  such  person  is  not  brought  within  24 
hours  of  his  arrest  or  from  the  commencement  of  his  detention, 
the  burden  of  explanation  is  on  the  authorities.   The 
Constitution  was  amended  in  1988  to  allow  the  police  to  hold 
people  suspected  of  capital  offenses  for  14  days  before  being 
brought  before  a  court.   Capital  offenses  include  such  crimes 
as  murder  and  treason.   In  practice,  suspects  in  noncapital 
crimes  are  often  held  incommunicado  for  2  to  3  weeks  before 
being  brought  before  a  court.   Often,  family  members  bring 
lawsuits  to  compel  authorities  to  produce  "missing"  prisoners. 

The  PPSA  allows  the  State  to  detain  a  person  indefinitely 
without  charges  or  trial  upon  a  determination  "that  it  is 
necessary  for  the  preservation  of  public  security. " 
"Preservation  of  public  security,"  a  holdover  from  colonial 
days,  includes  "prevention  and  suppression  of  rebellion, 
mutiny,  violence,  intimidation,  disorder  and  crime,  unlawful 
attempts  and  conspiracies  to  overthrow  the  Government  or  the 
Constitution,"  and  several  other  grounds."   A  formal  detention 
order  must  be  signed  and  published  in  the  Kenya  Gazette. 
There  is  no  judicial  review  of  the  legality  of  detention. 
Detention  cases  are  reviewed  by  a  board  appointed  by  the 


170 


KENYA 

President  which  meets  in  camera  every  6  months,  but  the 
Government  is  not  bound  by  this  board's  recommendations. 

In  1990  there  were  six  detentions  under  the  PPSA:  Kenneth 
Matiba,  the  former  Minister  of  Transport  and  Communications; 
Charles  Rubia,  former  Mayor  of  Nairobi;  Raila  Odinga,  a 
businessman  and  son  of  a  former  Vice  President;  Gitobu 
Imanyara,  Nairobi  Law  Monthly  editor;  John  Khaminwa,  attorney 
representing  Matiba  and  Rubia;  and  Mohamed  Ibrahim,  an 
attorney  with  Waruhiu  and  Muite  advocates .   These  were  the 
first  detentions  under  the  PPSA  since  President  Moi  freed 
seven  detainees  in  1989.   At  the  end  of  1990,  Matiba,  Rubia, 
and  Odinga  remained  in  detention. 

Matiba  and  Rubia  came  to  prominence  in  the  multiparty  debate 
when  they  issued  a  statement  in  May  calling  on  President  Moi 
to  direct  Parliament  to  repeal  the  amendment  which  made  Kenya 
a  de  jure  one-party  state,  to  dissolve  parliament,  and  to  call 
new  elections.   On  June  20,  Kenyan  police  attempted  to  arrest 
the  two  for  holding  an  illegal  meeting  while  Matiba  and  Rubia 
were  consulting  with  their  attorney.   The  police  did  not 
present  a  warrant  and  left  without  arresting  them.   Matiba  and 
Rubia  later  applied  for  a  permit  to  hold  a  July  7  rally  on  the 
multiparty  issue.   No  permit  was  issued,  and  Matiba  and  Rubia 
said  publicly  that  they  would  not  hold  the  rally.   In  the  face 
of  rumors  that  supporters  of  the  two  planned  to  hold  the  rally 
without  a  permit,  Kenyan  police  took  Matiba  and  Rubia  into 
custody  July  4,  and  they  were  officially  detained  July  5. 

Raila  Odinga,  an  associate  of  Matiba  and  Rubia,  was  arrested 
July  5  and  officially  detained  July  10.   He  has  been  detained 
twice  before.   His  father,  former  Vice  President  Jaramogi 
Oginga  Odinga,  is  an  outspoken  critic  of  the  Government. 

In  a  major  crackdown  on  its  critics,  the  Government  went  on  to 
detain  other  persons  connected  with  Matiba  and  Rubia. 
Attorney  John  Khaminwa  was  arrested  July  4  when  he  went  to  a 
Nairobi  police  station  to  inquire  about  his  clients' 
whereabouts.   Mohamed  Ibrahim,  an  ethnic  Somali  who  publicly 
refused  to  submit  to  the  Kenya  Government's  requirement  that 
ethnic  Somali  Kenyans  register  and  carry  a  special 
identification  document,  was  also  arrested  July  4  (see  also 
Section  5).   On  July  5  police  arrested  Nairobi  Law  Monthly 
editor  Gitobu  Imanyara.   Detention  orders  for  Khaminwa, 
Ibrahim,  and  Imanyara  were  published  July  10,  and  they  were 
held  until  July  26.   In  all  six  cases  of  detention,  the 
families  of  the  detainees  were  not  told  where  the  men  were 
held,  and  the  families  filed  habeas  corpus  petitions  demanding 
that  the  Government  file  charges  or  release  them.   When 
Imanyara  was  released,  he  was  turned  over  immediately  to  the 
CID  for  questioning  and  was  later  charged  with  publishing  a 
seditious  publication  (see  also  Section  2.a.). 

The  Government  brought  sedition  charges  against  four  persons 
July  25  and  charged  they  were  holding  a  meeting  to  plan  its 
overthrow  and  had  in  their  possession  issues  of  a  British 
publication,  Africa  Confidential,  containing  articles  critical 
of  the  Kenya  Government.   The  four,  George  Anyona,  Isaiah 
Ngotho  Kariuki,  Dr.  Edward  Akong'o  Oyugi,  and  Augustus 
Kathangu,  remained  in  jail  at  year's  end.   Their  three 
applications  for  bail  were  denied. 

The  Government  crackdown  on  dissidents  continued  in  the  fall. 
Former  MP  Koigi  Wa  Wamwere  was  arrested  October  9  for 
allegedly  possessing  illegal  weapons  and  plotting  to  organize 


171 


KENYA 

illegal  street  vendors  and  private  bus  operators  to 
participate  in  acts  of  violence.   Wamwere,  who  had  been 
detained  on  two  previous  occasions  under  the  PPSA,  had  been 
living  in  exile  in  Norway.   On  December  17,  Wamwere  filed  an 
affidavit  alleging  he  had  been  kidnaped  by  Kenyan  authorities 
during  a  visit  to  Uganda.   His  brother,  Charles  Kuria,  was 
jailed  for  4  years,  for  alleged  membership  in  a  clandestine 
organization.   Lawyers  Rumba  Kinuthia  and  Mirugi  Kariuki  were 
picked  up  October  8  by  30  plainclothes  police  who  raided  their 
homes  at  3  a.m.,  reportedly  looking  for  arms  smuggled  in  by 
Wamwere . 

The  Government  charged  Koigi  Wa  Wamwere,  attorneys  Rumba 
Kinuthia  and  Mirugi  Kariuki,  and  another  man,  Geoffrey 
Kariuki,  with  treason  October  19.   The  Government  accused 
Wamwere  and  the  others  of  seeking  to  organize  illegal  hawkers 
and  others  "to  participate  in  acts  of  violence  and 
lawlessness,  and  generally  to  promote  a  defiant  culture."   On 
December  11,  three  other  persons  who  had  been  charged  with 
misprision  (concealment)  of  treason  were  added  to  the  case. 
They  are  Joseph  Mwaura  Kinuthia,  Hosea  Mwaura  Kinuthia,  and 
Harun  Wakaba.   A  number  of  other  prominent  persons  were  also 
briefly  held  in  early  October  for  questioning  in  connection 
with  Wamwere's  activities.   These  included  a  number  of  M.P.'s 
or  former  M.P.'s  and  Wanguhu  Ng'ang'a,  a  businessman  and 
contributor  to  the  Nairobi  Law  Monthly.   One  of  those  arrested 
was  M.P.  Christopher  Kamuyu,  who  was  charged  with  possession 
of  a  banned  magazine.   Most  of  the  persons  picked  up  for 
questioning  are  of  Kikuyu  ethnic  origin. 

In  many  other  cases,  the  number  of  which  is  difficult  to 
gauge,  Kenyans  were  held  in  police  custody  for  periods  ranging 
from  a  few  hours  to  several  days  without  being  charged  or 
officially  detained  under  any  specific  authority.   The  purpose 
seemed  to  be  intimidation  of  government  critics.   Some  of 
those  include  Kimondo  Kirui,  Rubia's  former  chief  campaigner, 
Joseph  Mwaura  Nderi,  former  chairman  of  the  banned  Matatu 
Vehicles  Owners  Association,  and  Joseph  Gichuku,  a  Matiba 
supporter  and  hotel  owner.   Some  1,000  persons  were  charged 
with  rioting  and  looting  during  disturbances  that  took  place 
July  7-10  and  sentenced  to  between  3  months'  and  2  years' 
imprisonment  or  released  on  bond  of  approximately  $450  each. 

Traditionally,  neither  exile  nor  threat  of  exile  has  been  used 
by  the  Government  as  a  means  of  intimidation  or  punishment. 
However,  two  Kenyan  dissidents  resorted  to  self-exile  in 
1990.   Neither  was  formally  charged  with  any  crime.   During  a 
Government  campaign  in  March  against  "rumor-mongering, "  in 
which  a  number  of  prominent  critics  were  questioned,  David 
Mukaru  Ng'ang'a  fled  the  country.   Ng'ang'a,  a  former 
university  lecturer,  had  spent  5  of  the  last  8  years  in  jail, 
without  charge  or  trial  under  the  PPSA.   After  his  release  in 
1989,  Ng'ang'a  sued  the  Government  seeking  damages  for  torture 
and  illegal  detention.   After  avoiding  a  March  10  attempt  by 
plainclothes  police  to  bring  him  in  for  questioning,  on  March 
12  Ng'ang'a  filed  an  application  for  an  injunction  against 
arrest  and  an  application  of  advance  bail.   On  March  19  the 
High  Court  rejected  the  application,  and  on  March  29  Ng'ang'a 
disappeared  from  sight.   He  later  was  accepted  in  Europe  as  a 
refugee.   President  Moi  subsequently  invited  Ng'ang'a  to 
return  home  without  fear.   One  of  the  Government's  most 
outspoken  critics,  Gibson  Kamau  Kuria,  was  allowed  to  leave 
the  country  July  11  after  spending  4  days  in  the  U.S. 
Embassy.   Kuria,  a  former  detainee,  went  into  hiding  July  5 
after  former  cabinet  ministers  Kenneth  Matiba  and  Charles 


I 


172 


KENYA 

Rubia  were  detained,   Kuria,  who  was  detained  in  1987  for  10 
months  as  he  prepared  to  sue  the  Government  for  allegedly 
torturing  prisoners,  received  the  1988  Robert  F.  Kennedy 
Memorial  human  rights  award,  although  the  Government  refused 
to  give  him  a  passport  to  attend  the  award  ceremony  (see 
Section  2.d.  )  . 

e.   Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

Kenya's  legal  system,  as  defined  in  the  Judicature  Act  of 
1967,  is  based  on  the  Kenyan  Constitution,  laws  passed  by 
Parliament,  and  common  law  or  court  precedent.   Customary  law 
is  used  as  a  guide  in  civil  matters  affecting  people  of  the 
same  ethnic  group  so  long  as  it  does  not  conflict  with 
statutory  law.   Kenya  does  not  have  the  jury  system.   The 
court  system  consists  of  a  Court  of  Appeals,  a  High  Court,  and 
two  levels  of  magistrates'  courts  where  most  criminal  and 
civil  cases  originate.   Civilians  are  tried  in  civilian 
courts,  and  verdicts  may  be  appealed  to  the  High  Court  and 
ultimately  to  the  Court  of  Appeals.   Kenyans  do  not  have  a 
right  to  legal  counsel  except  in  certain  capital  cases.   Most 
persons  tried  for  capital  offenses  are  provided  counsel  free 
of  charge  if  they  cannot  afford  it.   Military  personnel  are 
tried  by  military  courts,  and  verdicts  may  be  appealed. 
Attorneys  for  military  personnel  are  appointed  on  a  case-by- 
case  basis  by  the  Chief  Justice. 

The  President  appoints  the  Chief  Justice  and  other  members  of 
the  Court  of  Appeal  and  the  High  Court  with  the  advice  of  the 
judicial  service  commission.  The  President  also  appoints  the 
Attorney  General , 

The  President's  power  over  the  judicial  system  was  increased 
through  constitutional  amendments  adopted  in  1986  and  1988, 
which  gave  the  President  unlimited  authority  to  remove  the 
Attorney  General,  the  Auditor  General,  and  High  Court  Judges. 
In  November  President  Moi  directed  the  Attorney  General  to 
draft  a  bill  revising  the  constitutional  provisions  on 
security  of  tenure  of  the  judiciary,  the  attorney  general, 
auditor  general,  and  controller.   The  bill,  passed  in 
December,  requires  that  a  tribunal  be  impaneled  in  each  case 
in  which  a  question  arises  of  removing  a  judge,  the  Attorney 
General,  or  the  Controller  for  misconduct.   However,  most 
members  of  the  panel  are  to  be  appointed  by  the  President  in 
each  case.   The  effect  of  the  amendment  is  that  the  President 
no  longer  has  sole  authority  over  the  removal  of  a  judge.   In 
December  President  Moi  announced  that  he  would  make  the  office 
of  the  Director  of  Public  Prosecutions  a  tenured  office. 

A  particularly  egregious  example  of  denial  of  a  fair  trial  is 
the  case  of  Reverend  Lawford  Imunde  (see  also  Section  I.e.). 
He  was  sentenced  to  6  years  in  prison  after  pleading  guilty  to 
three  counts  of  sedition.   Imunde  was  detained  for  13  days 
after  his  arrest  and  charged  only  after  his  spouse  went  to  the 
press.   The  evidence  of  his  sedition  was  a  note  in  his  diary 
saying  "the  death  of  Dr.  Ouko  had  implications  on  stability," 
criticism  of  the  government  statement  issued  after  Dr.  Ouko ' s 
death,  which  implied  that  Ouko  had  shot  and  burnt  himself,  and 
his  possession  of  two  allegedly  seditious  articles:  "African 
Independent  States  and  Human  Rights"  and  "Education  for  All 
but  the  Very  Few."   Imunde  had  no  representation  during  the 
trial,  when  he  reportedly  accused  the  National  Council  of 
Churches  of  Kenya  of  belonging  to  a  conspiracy  to  destabilize 
the  Moi  Government.   After  sentencing,  Imunde  had  an  apparent 
change  of  heart  and  asked  the  court  to  reconsider  his  case  and 


173 


KENYA 

change  his  plea  to  innocent.   Imunde  claimed  his  confession 
was  extracted  through  torture  and  promises  of  release.   He 
also  revealed  a  deal  he  alleged  was  offered  by  police,  namely, 
to  refrain  from  seeking  legal  counsel,  apologize  to  President 
Moi,  plead  guilty  to  sedition,  and  accuse  religious 
organizations  of  trying  to  destabilize  the  Government,  in 
exchange  for  a  light  noncustodial  sentence.   Imunde ' s  appeal 
was  filed  in  November,  but  the  hearing  had  not  been  scheduled 
as  of  year's  end. 

In  some  cases,  fair  trial  is  precluded  by  legislation.   A 
relic  of  the  colonial  period,  enacted  in  1948,  the  Chief's 
Authority  Act  gives  low-level  administration  officials,  called 
chiefs,  wide-ranging  powers  including  the  power  to  arrest  and 
hold  individuals  and  to  restrict  a  person's  movement.   The  Act 
is  subject  to  abuse.   In  one  instance,  13  people  who  failed  to 
attend  a  required  tree-planting  ceremony  were  jailed  20  days 
without  the  option  of  a  fine.   The  Kenya  law  reform  commission 
has  recommended  that  the  law  be  abolished. 

f.   Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 
Correspondence . 

Searches  without  warrants  are  allowed  under  the  Constitution 
in  certain  instances  "to  promote  the  public  benefit," 
including  security  cases.   Security  officials  also  conduct 
searches  without  warrants  to  apprehend  suspected  criminals  or 
to  seize  property  suspected  to  be  stolen.   Homes  of  suspected 
dissidents  have  been  searched  without  warrants. 

Security  forces  reportedly  employ  a  variety  of  surveillance 
techniques,  including  electronic  surveillance  and  a  network  of 
informers.   For  example,  two  security  officials  were  placed 
outside  of  one  attorney's  office  for  about  1  month.   The 
security  men  stopped  clients  leaving  the  office  and  demanded 
their  identity.   The  attorney  filed  suit  in  June  asking  the 
High  Court  to  rule  that  the  interference  and  harassment  by 
Special  Branch  officers  as  he  consulted  with  his  clients, 
Kenneth  Matiba  and  Charles  Rubia,  was  illegal  and  a 
contravention  of  his  right  to  protection  against  arbitrary 
entry  on  his  premises.   The  Court  had  not  ruled  on  the  case  by 
year's  end. 

There  have  been  attacks  on  the  families  of  persons  critical  of 
the  Government.   The  wife  of  Kenneth  Matiba  suffered  a 
fractured  skull  during  an  attack  by  a  gang  June  14  at  the 
family's  home.   Matiba  was  not  at  home  at  the  time.   Although 
the  Government  has  denied  any  involvement  and  arrested  several 
suspects,  robbery  is  an  unlikely  motive,  since  less  than  $100 
was  taken  from  the  home. 

On  November  21,  the  Nairobi  City  Commission  demolished 
Kibagare  village  on  the  Western  outskirts  of  Nairobi,  leaving 
some  30,000  people  homeless.   The  Government  has  offered 
little  explanation  except  to  charge  that  the  slums  are 
inhabited  by  criminal  elements  who  are  also  a  security  risk. 
In  May  the  City  Commission  demolished  Muoroto  shanty  village 
in  central  Nairobi,  leaving  several  thousand  homeless. 

Section  2   Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including: 

a.   Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

The  Constitution  provides  for  freedom  of  speech  and  press  and 
outlaws  discrimination  against  any  Kenyan  on  grounds  of 


174 


KENYA 

political  opinion.   However,  in  practice  the  exercise  of  these 
rights  continues  to  be  restricted.   Some  30  persons  were 
arrested  in  1990  on  charges  of  disturbing  the  peace  which 
included  a  wide  range  of  actions  from  street  preaching 
critical  of  the  Government  to  flashing  two  fingers  to  show 
support  for  multiparty  politics  in  Kenya.   Parliament  rarely 
debates  national  issues  such  as  foreign  policy. 

Government  and  KANU  officials'  attacks  in  the  press  on 
outspoken  politicians,  clergymen,  and  lawyers,  as  well  as  the 
detention  provisions  of  the  PPSA,  discourage  public  exchange 
of  views  on  sensitive  issues.   Despite  these  limitations, 
Kenyan  press  reporting  on  local  issues  remains  spirited.   The 
press  fully  reported  cominentary  critical  of  the  Government 
during  the  KANU  Review  Committee  hearings. 

One  television  station  and  all  radio  stations  are  owned  and 
controlled  by  the  Government.   A  second  television  station  is 
owned  by  KANU  and  adheres  to  self-imposed  guidelines.   The 
KANU-owned  outlet  carries  Cable  News  Network  (CNN)  programs, 
generally  without  restriction,  although  at  times  stories  on 
Kenya  have  been  deleted. 

Privately  owned  newspapers  and  journals  are  published  in 
Kenya,  and  there  is  no  systematic  censorship  of  the  press, 
although  the  press  practices  self-censorship  and  confines  its 
commentary  within  usually  understood  but  legally  undefined 
limits.   The  press  criticizes  some  government  policies  and 
frequently  government  officials  and  politicians  but  never  the 
President.   At  times  the  Government  intervenes  to  tell  editors 
how  to  handle  sensitive  stories.   When  former  Vice  President 
Oginga  Odinga  sent  an  open  letter  to  the  President  with 
scathing  criticism  of  the  one-party  system,  only  foreign 
networks,  and  later  two  local  magazines,  carried  the  message. 
The  Kenyan  broadcast  media  and  daily  press  were  apparently 
instructed  not  to  carry  the  message.   It  was  later  published 
in  the  Nairobi  Law  Monthly  and  Finance  Magazine.   However,  in 
October  and  again  in  November  police  seized  issues  of  Finance 
Magazine  (not  banned)  from  street  vendors  for  carrying 
controversial  articles. 

Constitutional  rights  have  been  particularly  circumscribed  in 
political/security  cases  involving  possession  of  allegedly 
seditious  documents  and  music.   The  documents  are,  for  the 
most  part,  in  the  public  domain.   In  the  latter  half  of  1990, 
some  75  persons  were  charged  with  sedition  in  cases  which 
appear  to  consist  mainly  of  possession  of  any  material 
critical  of  the  Government.   For  example,  the  nephew  of  former 
Vice  President  Jaramogi  Oginga  Odinga,  Joseph  Ager ,  was 
arrested  for  alleged  possession  of  an  Africa  Confidential 
issue  containing  the  article  "Kenya,  the  Security  Home  Boys." 
Possession  of  the  article,  which  criticizes  corruption  in  the 
Government,  has  been  cited  as  grounds  for  sedition  charges  in 
over  20  cases. 

In  1990  the  Government  banned  one  magazine,  the  Nairobi  Law 
Monthly,  and  police  harassed  street  vendors  for  selling  the 
magazine.   A  High  Court  ruling  suspended  the  ban  a  week  later, 
but  the  Government  continued  to  harass  vendors  and  confiscate 
copies  until  mid-October.   The  Government  ban  was  in  response 
to  the  publication  of  an  issue  on  recommendations  for 
political  change  given  to  the  KANU  Review  Committee.   The 
Government  has  employed  in  the  past  the  practice  of  banning 
magazines  that  covered  politically  sensitive  issues.   The 
Nairobi  Law  Monthly  joined  three  other  proscribed  periodicals. 


175 


KENYA 

Development  Agenda  and  the  Financial  Review,  banned  in  1989, 
and  Beyond,  a  publication  of  the  National  Council  of  Churches 
of  Kenya,  which  was  banned  in  1988. 

The  editor  of  the  Nairobi  Law  Monthly,  Gitobu  Imanyara,  was 
charged  with  sedition  and  with  failing  to  comply  with  the 
provisions  of  the  Books  and  Newspapers  Act.   The  Government 
also  revived  an  old  criminal  charge  against  him,  which  had 
earlier  been  suspended  pending  high  court  review  of 
constitutional  objections.   The  sedition  charge  referred  to 
Imanyara 's  publication  of  an  issue  entitled  "The  Historic 
Debate"  in  July  which  dealt  with  democracy  and  multiparty 
politics  in  Kenya.   At  the  end  of  1990  no  hearing  date  had 
been  set  on  any  of  Imanyara 's  cases.   The  Government  had  not 
granted  consent  to  the  public  prosecutor  to  prosecute  on  the 
sedition  charge. 

The  Government,  in  what  appears  to  be  an  arbitrary  decision 
citing  no  legal  authority,  has  made  possession  of  music 
cassettes  containing  songs  critical  of  the  Government  grounds 
for  sedition  charges.   The  Government  never  officially  banned 
the  cassettes  in  question.   Police  arrested  some  30  shop 
owners  and  musicians  for  producing,  selling,  or  possessing 
"seditious"  cassettes,  many  of  which  are  folk  songs  commenting 
on  the  author's  version  of  current  events.   One  group  of  cases 
was  dropped  in  early  October,  but  an  unknown  number  of  others 
were  still  pending  at  the  end  of  December. 

Newspapers,  magazines,  and  books  from  abroad  are  readily 
available.   In  November,  however,  the  Government  would  not 
allow  an  issue  of  Newsweek  into  the  country  because  it 
included  an  article  "prejudicial"  to  Kenya.   Some  copies 
nevertheless  managed  to  enter  and  were  sold  to  the  public.   In 
December,  one  issue  of  the  International  Herald  Tribune, 
containing  an  article  critical  of  the  Government,  was  not 
distributed. 

b.  Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association. 

The  Constitution  provides  for  freedom  of  assembly  but  is 
seriously  limited  by  the  Public  Order  and  Police  Act,  which 
gives  authorities  power  to  control  public  gatherings,  defined 
as  meetings  of  three  or  more  persons.   It  is  illegal  to 
convene  an  unlicensed  meeting.   In  June  police  broke  up 
meetings  being  held  in  attorney  Paul  Muite's  office  stating 
that  the  participants  had  no  permit  for  such  a  gathering.   The 
Government  refused  to  issue  a  permit  to  former  cabinet 
ministers  Matiba  and  Rubia  to  hold  a  public  rally  in  July  on 
the  multiparty  debate. 

Freedom  of  association  is  governed  by  the  Societies  Act  which 
states  that  every  association  must  be  registered  or  exempted 
from  registration  by  the  registrar  of  societies.   Some  groups 
have  had  difficulty  obtaining  registration  or  have  been 
deregistered  (see  Section  2.c.).   With  the  exception  of  civil 
servants,  who  are  required  to  join  KANU,  Kenyans  are  not  bound 
legally  to  join  any  political  organization.   Although  the 
party  and  the  Government  emphasize  that  it  is  voluntary,  KANU 
party  membership  is  a  prerequisite  for  voting  and  holding 
public  office.   No  other  political  party  is  permitted. 

c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

Kenya  has  no  state  religion.   Freedom  of  worship  is 
acknowledged  in  the  Constitution  and  generally  allowed,  but 


176 


KENYA 

churches  new  to  Kenya  must  obtain  government  approval  to  be 
registered.   The  Government  can  also  withdraw  its  approval  and 
"deregister"  a  church  as  it  did  in  February  to  the  Kikuyu 
(tribe)  based  religious  group  called  the  Tent  of  the  Living 
God.   The  Government  deregistered  the  group  on  the  grounds  of 
maintaining  peace  and  order. 

Also  in  February,  27  members  of  another  predominantly  Kikuyu 
religious  group,  the  Church  of  Christ  (which  mixes 
non-Christian  forms  of  worship  with  Christian  beliefs)  were 
remanded  into  custody  and  charged  with  holding  an  unlicensed 
meeting.   In  October  three  members  received  jail  terms  of  4  to 
6  months  for  disturbing  the  peace. 

Foreign  missionaries  of  many  denominations  are  permitted  to 
work  in  Kenya,  though  on  occasion  the  President  and  other 
officials  have  publicly  questioned  the  motives  of  certain 
missionaries  and  accused  them  of  interfering  in  politics.   One 
American  missionary  was  told  to  leave  in  1990  after  giving  a 
sermon  criticizing  the  Government. 

Many  churches  in  Kenya  have  become  increasingly  vocal  in 
demanding  political  reform.   The  Catholic  bishops  in  an  open 
letter  to  the  Government  in  June  expressed  concern  over  the 
increasing  identification  of  the  party  with  the  Government  and 
party  abuse  of  power.   They  called  for  a  national  dialog  on 
the  issues.   The  Church  of  the  Province  of  Kenya  (CPK)  also 
called  for  political  reform,  including  the  dissolution  of 
Parliament,  restoration  of  an  independent  judiciary,  and  a 
limit  to  presidential  tenure.   Church  leaders  have  been 
publicly  accused  of  subversion  and  sedition  by  government 
officials  for  their  outspoken  views,  although  none  has  been 
arrested  or  detained,  with  the  exception  of  Reverend  Imunde 
(see  Section  i.e.).   KANU  party  youth  group  members  harassed 
CPK  Bishop  Okullu  in  retaliation  for  his  sermons  calling  for 
political  reform.   One  high  ranking  government  official,  who 
also  holds  a  powerful  position  in  the  party,  said  the  party 
youth  were  simply  carrying  out  their  duties.   President  Moi 
warned  on  October  10  that  the  clergy  did  not  understand  the 
distinction  between  canon  law,  which  applies  to  the  spiritual, 
and  state  law  which  applies  to  all.   "If  they  preach  hatred, 
they  will  be  prosecuted." 

d.   Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

Kenyans  can  travel  freely  within  the  country,  although  travel 
in  the  northeastern  areas  remains  dangerous  due  to  highway 
banditry,  and  persons  traveling  by  road  there  are  advised  to 
travel  in  convoys  headed  by  Kenyan  police. 

Kenya  does  not  generally  prohibit  emigration  of  its  citizens 
but  on  occasion  does  prevent  travel  abroad,  usually  by  critics 
of  the  Government.   The  Government  does  not  regard  the 
issuance  of  passports  to  its  citizens  as  a  right  and  reserves 
the  authority  to  issue  or  deny  passports  at  its  discretion  or 
to  request  their  return.   In  1990  attorney  Gibson  Kamau  Kuria 
was  still  unable  to  obtain  his  passport.   In  1989  the 
Government  confiscated  (and  still  holds)  attorney  Paul  Muite's 
passport  when  he  returned  from  the  U.S.  where  he  had  traveled 
to  accept  an  award  for  Gibson  Kuria.   There  was  no  known 
instance  of  citizenship  being  revoked  for  political  reasons. 


177 


KENYA 

In  1990  Kenya  continued  to  deny  permanent  resettlement  to  most 
of  the  over  12,000  registered  refugees  in  the  country — a  trend 
which  began  in  the  last  quarter  of  1988. 

The  Government  conducted  a  major  roundup  of  illegal  aliens, 
particularly  Ugandans,  in  October,  in  which  refugees  with 
valid  documents  were  affected.   Refugees  with  valid  refugee 
documents,  including  from  the  United  Nations  High  Commissioner 
for  Refugees  (UNHCR) ,  were  swept  up  along  with  the  rest,  and, 
according  to  press  accounts,  these  documents  were  taken  away 
from  them.   The  Nairobi  Police  Commissioner  announced  on 
October  23  that  over  1,000  persons  had  been  arrested,  mainly 
Ugandans,  on  the  ground  of  illegal  residence  in  Kenya. 

Many  were  brought  before  the  courts,  but  many  did  not  receive 
any  form  of  judicial  or  administrative  review.   If  illegal 
residence  was  admitted,  the  person  was  immediately  deported. 
The  roundups  had  stopped  by  year's  end.   However,  the 
Government  had  begun  refusing  to  renew  monthly  residence 
permits  of  mandated  refugees  and  had  given  them  7  days  to 
leave  the  country.   Since  the  Government  had  been  denying  most 
of  the  asylum  seekers'  claims,  as  noted  above,  the  pool  of 
mandate  refugees  had  grown  to  some  7,000  to  8,000  by  year's 
end. 

In  late  1989,  a  government  campaign  to  screen  ethnic  Somalis 
to  identify  those  illegally  residing  in  Kenya  prompted  a 
number  of  Somalis  to  flee  into  neighboring  countries  to  avoid 
deportation.   The  Government  reportedly  began  the  campaign 
because  of  its  belief  that  illegal  Somalis  were  involved  in 
animal  poaching  and  banditry.   While  the  screening  practice 
ended  in  March  1990,  over  200  ethnic  Somalis  who  claimed  to 
hold  Kenyan  citizenship  were  still  outside  the  country  by 
year's  end.   In  late  1990  there  were  also  unconfirmed  reports 
of  Kenyan  authorities  blocking  the  passage  of  Somali  refugees 
into  northeastern  Kenya,  where  they  were  seeking  safety  from 
civil  conflict  in  Somalia.   There  were  two  known  similar 
incidents  in  1989  (see  Section  5). 

Section  3  Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

Citizens  cannot  change  the  system  of  government  in  Kenya  or 
replace  the  party  in  power  through  the  electoral  process.   The 
Constitution  prohibits  formation  of  any  political  party  other 
than  KANU,  and  President  Moi  and  a  small  group  of  advisers 
control  all  major  policy  decisions  within  the  Government  and 
the  party.   Since  1964,  when  Kenya  adopted  a  presidential 
system,  the  party's  candidate  for  President  has  been 
unopposed.   President  Moi  was  reelected  in  1988  to  a  third 
5-year  term.   Numerous  candidates  compete  in  party  and 
parliamentary  elections — also  held  every  5  years — but  all 
candidates  must  be  KANU  members. 

In  response  to  increasing  pressure  for  political  pluralism  and 
complaints  about  unfair  practices  and  corruption  in  the 
electoral  system,  the  party  established  a  Review  Committee  in 
June  to  examine  the  election  rules.   Its  mandate  was  to 
reexamine  the  nomination  and  election  procedures  and  KANU's 
disciplinary  rules,  with  its  focus  on  the  70  percent  rule,  the 
queuing  system,  and  the  issue  of  expulsion  of  members  as  a 
disciplinary  measure.   The  Committee,  chaired  by  the  Vice 
President,  held  nationwide  hearings  during  which  a  broad  cross 
section  of  Kenyans  expressed  their  views  on  political  matters. 


36-976  0-91 


178 


KENYA 

including  aspects  of  Kenya's  politics  outside  the  scope  of  the 
Committee's  terms  of  reference. 

In  December  the  KANU  special  Delegates'  Conference  agreed  to 
adopt  the  recommendations  of  the  KANU  Review  Committee, 
including  those  to  abolish  qxieue-voting,  the  70-percent  rule, 
and  expulsion  of  party  members.   The  abolition  of  queue-voting 
means  that  the  KANU  constitution's  nomination  rules  will  be 
changed  so  that  nomination-stage  elections  by  the  party  for 
civic  and  parliamentary  candidates  are  by  secret  ballot.   The 
Committee  also  recommended,  and  the  delegates  accepted,  the 
abolishing  of  expulsions  from  the  party  as  a  disciplinary 
measure,  and  suggested  instead  suspension  for  a  specific 
period  as  the  most  severe  punishment  for  errant  members. 

The  KANU  revisions  do  away  with  a  1988  law  that  instituted  the 
controversial  queuing  system  for  selecting  KANU  nominees  in 
lieu  of  secret  balloting.   It  required  that  voters  line  up 
behind  a  photo  of  the  candidate  they  support,  with  obvious 
potential  for  election  fraud  and  voter  intimidation.   The  70 
percent  rule  allowed  candidates  who  received  70  percent  of  the 
vote  in  the  queuing  stage  to  be  automatically  elected  without 
having  to  contest  the  second-stage  secret  ballot  election. 
Opponents  of  the  rule  charged  that  this  is  a  quick  road  to 
Parliament  and  prone  to  abuse,  since  voter  turnout  in  the 
nomination  stage  is  in  many  cases  less  than  10  percent  of 
registered  voters. 

In  December  President  Moi  told  the  KANU  special  Delegates' 
Conference  that  any  qualified  Kenyan  should  be  cleared  by  the 
party  to  stand  for  nomination.   Unlike  in  the  past,  where 
those  denied  party  clearance  appealed  to  the  President,  Moi 
proposed  that  the  KANU  constitution  be  amended  to  enable  the 
aggrieved  party  to  appeal  to  a  court  of  law.   The  party 
implemented  the  change  December  18,  although  it  remains  to  be 
seen  whether  lack  of  headquarters  clearance  will  be  used  to 
deny  candidates  a  place  on  the  ballot. 

Section  4  Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

There  are  no  local  organizations  solely  devoted  to 
investigating  human  rights  abuses,  but  the  Law  Society  of 
Kenya,  some  church  groups,  and  individual  attorneys  function 
as  de  facto  human  rights  groups.   However,  they  face  serious 
obstacles,  including  harsh  government  criticism,  restrictions 
on  free  speech  and  assembly,  and,  in  the  case  of  some 
attorneys,  police  mistreatment.   The  Government  reacts 
negatively  to  criticism  of  its  human  rights  record,  at  home 
and  abroad,  and  discourages  Kenyans  from  providing  outside 
human  rights  groups  with  information.   President  Moi  publicly 
attacked  expressions  of  concern  from  outside  groups  on  the 
human  rights  situation,  particularly  comments  on  detainees,  as 
interference  in  Kenya's  internal  affairs. 

The  visit  in  September  of  the  Committee  to  Protect  Journalists 
was  the  only  visit  to  Kenya  by  a  major  human  rights  group  in 
1990.   However,  the  Lawyers  Committee  on  Human  Rights  and  the 
American  and  New  York  City  Bar  Associations  sent  observers  to 
the  November  trial  of  attorney  Pheroze  Nowrojee  charged  with 
contempt  of  court  for  publishing  a  letter  concerning  the  case 
of  a  driver  implicated  in  the  death  of  Bishop  Muge,  an 
outspoken  Government  critic,  who  died  in  an  car  crash  last 
August . 


179 


KENYA 

In  October  President  Moi  denied  Norway's  offer  to  provide  a 
foreign  attorney  to  represent  former  parliamentarian  Koigi  Wa 
Wamwere,  arrested  on  treason  charges. 

Section  5   Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

Kenya  is  a  diverse  country  that  does  not  mandate  legal 
discrimination  on  the  basis  of  race,  sex,  religion,  language, 
or  social  status.   However,  Kenyans  of  Somali  ethnic  origin 
have  been  singled  out.   They  are  the  only  ethnic  group  in 
Kenya  for  which  the  Government  reqnaires  an  additional  form  of 
identification  stating  that  they  are  Kenyan  citizens.   At 
least  200  Somalis  with  disputed  citizenship  claims  were 
deported  after  the  Government  instituted  a  requirement  in 
November  1989  that  all  ethnic  Somalis  carry  an  additional 
identity  card.   Ethnic  Somalis  must  have  their  claim  to  Kenyan 
citizenship  verified  through  a  "screening"  process  involving 
verification  by  a  panel  of  Somali  elders.   This  screening 
effort  continued  through  the  first  3  months  of  1990  and  then 
was  phased  out,  although  its  practical  effects  remained.   The 
screening  has  been  widely  criticized  as  discriminatory, 
unconstitutional,  and  without  a  basis  in  law.   Ethnic  Somalis 
must  still  produce  upon  demand  their  Kenyan  identification 
card  and  a  second  identification  verifying  origin.   Both  cards 
are  also  required  in  order  to  apply  for  a  passport,  and 
airlines  are  further  required  to  submit  passports  held  by 
Kenyan  Somalis  for  verification  before  issuing  tickets  to  such 
persons.   In  December  the  National  Assembly  amended  the 
"Registration  of  Persons  Act"  to  provide  a  legal  basis  to  the 
Somali  registration  requirement. 

Members  of  all  ethnic  groups  may  run  for  office,  and  ethnic 
representation  at  the  minister  and  assistant  minister  level  is 
broad.   The  Asian  community,  numbering  about  65,000,  accounts 
for  a  disproportionate  share  of  the  nation's  economic  wealth 
and  output.   Very  few  Asians  participate  in  electoral  politics. 

There  is  no  legal  discrimination  against  women,  but 
traditional  culture  and  attitudes  have  long  prescribed 
subordinate  roles  for  women.   Women  may  own  property  and 
businesses.   Women's  roles  are  particularly  restricted  in 
rural  areas  where  they  account  for  75  percent  of  the  total 
agricultural  work  force.   Rural  families  are  more  reluctant  to 
invest  in  educating  girls  than  in  educating  boys,  especially 
at  the  higher  levels.   The  number  of  girls  and  boys  in  school 
are  roughly  equal  at  the  primary  and  secondary  levels,  but  men 
outnumber  women  almost  two  to  one  in  higher  education.   Women 
may  own  property  and  businesses  and  are  increasingly  active  in 
the  modern  economy.   However,  the  number  of  women  in 
professional  roles  is  still  limited.   The  number  of  female 
unemployed  is  double  that  of  men.   Women  sometimes  receive 
lower  rates  of  pay  than  men  performing  the  same  job,  and 
disparities  in  fringe  benefits  occur,  e.g,  some  businesses 
give  housing  allowances  to  men  but  not  to  married  women. 

Polygamy  is  not  legal  for  people  married  under  the  Christian 
Marriage  Act,  but  it  is  permitted  for  those  who  marry  under 
African  customary  law.   Kenya's  law  of  succession,  which 
governs  inheritance  rights,  provides  for  equal  treatment  of 
male  and  female  children  (in  contrast  to  much  customary  law 
which  favors  the  eldest  male  children) . 

The  Government  strongly  condemns  extreme  violence  against 
women,  specifically  murder,  female  circumcision,  rape,  and 


180 


KENYA 

incest.   In  many  cases,  rapists,  particularly  of  minors,  are 
given  sentences  of  up  to  14  years  in  prison.   Domestic 
violence,  particularly  wife  beating,  is  a  problem,  but  there 
is  very  little  information  available  on  the  extent  of  the 
problem.   The  Government  is  not  as  vocal  on  the  subject  and 
the  media  rarely  report  wife  beating  (although  there  have  been 
media  reports  of  husbands  charged  with  murdering  their 
wives).   In  practice,  most  cases  of  domestic  violence  are 
settled  outside  of  the  courts.   The  maximum  legal  penalty  is  5 
years  in  prison.   Women  can  also  sue  for  civil  damages. 
Women's  groups  have  taken  up  the  issue  of  domestic  violence. 
The  Kenya  chapter  of  the  International  Federation  of  Women's 
Lawyers  has  published  a  free  brochure  in  English  and  Swahili 
on  women's  legal  rights,  explaining  that  women  may  bring 
criminal  charges  against  a  spouse  who  beats  them. 

Female  circumcision  is  illegal  but  still  practiced  by  some 
Kenyan  ethnic  groups.   The  Government  officially  discourages 
the  practice  and  in  August  charged  four  women  with  murder  in 
the  death  of  a  girl  they  circumcised.   There  were  also  press 
reports  that  community-forced  circumcision  of  married  women  is 
increasing. 

Section  6  Worker  Rights 

a.   The  Right  of  Association 

Civil  servants  have  been  barred  from  forming  or  joining  unions 
since  President  Moi  deregistered  the  Kenya  Civil  Servants 
Union  about  10  years  ago.   All  civil  servants  are  required  to 
be  members  of  KANU.   Other  workers  are  free  to  join  unions  of 
their  own  choosing. 

There  are  29  unions  in  Kenya  representing  approximately 
385,000  workers,  or  3  percent  of  the  country's  workforce  and 
slightly  more  than  20  percent  of  workers  in  the  modern  wage 
sector.   Except  for  the  160,000  member  Kenya  National  Union  of 
Teachers  (KNUT) ,  all  unions  must  be  affiliated  with  one 
central  body — the  Central  Organization  of  Trade  Unions 
(COTU) .   COTU  is  nominally  independent  of  the  Government  and 
KANU;  however,  that  independence  is  circumscribed  by  the  fact 
that  the  President,  as  a  result  of  the  powers  vested  in  him  by 
the  1965  decree  establishing  COTU,  can  remove  from  office  the 
central  body's  senior  leaders.   Nevertheless,  a  KANU  special 
delegates  conference  in  December  rejected  a  proposal  to 
formalize  the  alliance  between  KANU  and  COTU, 

The  law  provides  that  only  seven  workers  are  required  to 
establish  a  union.   In  order  to  deregister  a  union 
involuntarily,  the  Registrar  of  Trade  Unions  must  give  the 
union  60  days  in  which  the  union  can  challenge  the 
deregistration  notice;  an  appeal  of  the  Registrar's  final 
decision  can  be  brought  before  the  High  Court. 

The  Trade  Disputes  Act  permits  workers  to  strike  provided  that 
21  days  have  elapsed  following  the  submission  to  the  Minister 
of  Labor  of  a  written  report  detailing  the  nature  of  the 
dispute.   The  Minister,  following  discussions  with 
representatives  of  the  workers  and  employers,  can  either 
attempt  to  mediate  the  dispute  himself,  nominate  an  individual 
to  investigate  the  dispute  and  propose  a  solution,  or  refer 
the  matter  to  the  Industrial  Court,  a  body  consisting  of  five 
judges  who  are  appointed  by  the  President  and  whose  decisions 
are  final . 


181 


KENYA 

The  military,  police,  prison  guards  and  members  of  the 
National  Youth  Service  are  precluded  by  law  from  striking. 
Other  civil  servants,  like  their  private  sector  counterparts, 
can  strike  following  the  21  day  notice  period  (28  days  if  it 
is  an  essential  service — e.g.,  water  services,  health 
services,  educational  services,  air  traffic  control  services, 
etc.);  however,  the  Labor  Minister  can  refer  the  dispute  to 
the  Industrial  Court  for  a  binding  determination.   While 
Kenya's  civil  servants  have  been  precluded  for  some  10  years 
from  establishing  or  joining  unions,  the  Trade  Disputes  Act, 
last  revised  in  1980,  still  gives  civil  servants  the 
theoretical  right  to  strike. 

In  October  President  Moi  intimidated  the  leadership  of  the 
KNUT  into  calling  off  a  threatened  strike  prompted  by  the 
Government's  failure  to  implement  a  new  scheme  of  benefits 
accorded  to  certain  categories  of  teachers.   Since  workers  are 
not  permitted  by  law  to  strike  over  disputes  referred  by  the 
Labor  Minister  to  the  Industrial  Court,  there  are  few 
nonwildcat  strikes.   However,  workers  are  entitled  to  strike 
if  an  employer  fails  to  abide  by  the  decision  of  the  Court. 
In  1989  there  were  121  strikes,  mostly  of  a  wildcat  nature. 
These  work  actions  involved  21,279  workers  and  resulted  in  the 
loss  of  45,993  man-days. 

Kenya  has  ratified  International  Labor  Organization  (ILO) 
Convention  98  on  the  right  to  organize  and  collective 
bargaining,  but  not  ILO  Convention  87  on  freedom  of 
association.   Internationally,  COTU  is  affiliated  only  with 
the  continent-wide  organization  of  African  Trade  Unity.   Its 
constituent  unions,  however,  are  free  to  establish  linkages 
with  international  trade  secretariats  of  their  choosing. 

b.   The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

While  not  having  the  force  of  law,  the  1962  Industrial 
Relations  Charter,  executed  by  the  Government,  COTU,  and  the 
Federation  of  Kenya  Employers,  gives  workers  the  right  to 
engage  in  legitimate  trade  union  organizational  activities. 
Section  54  of  the  Trade  Disputes  Act  makes  it  illegal  for 
employers  to  intimidate  workers. 

Both  the  Trade  Disputes  Act  and  the  Charter  authorize 
collective  bargaining  between  unions  and  employers.   Wages  are 
established  in  the  context  of  negotiations  between  unions  and 
management.   The  Minister  of  Labor,  however,  pursuant  to  the 
authority  vested  in  him  by  the  Regulation  of  Wages  and 
Conditions  of  Employment  Act,  has  decreed  that  wage  increases 
cannot  exceed  75  percent  of  the  annual  rate  of  inflation. 
Collective  bargaining  agreements  must  be  registered  with  the 
Industrial  Court  for  the  purpose  of  guaranteeing  adherence  to 
any  wage  guidelines  promulgated  by  the  Labor  Minister.   In 
1989  there  were  384  agreements  registered  with  the  Court. 
Some  232,000  workers  were  covered  by  these  accords. 

On  November  23,  Parliament  passed  the  Export  Processing  Zones 
Act.   The  legislation,  which  envisions  the  creation  of  at 
least  three  such  zones,  is  silent  on  the  issue  of  worker 
rights.   Following  discussions  with  Labor  Ministry  officials, 
and  leaders  of  the  COTU  and  the  Federation  of  Kenya  Employers, 
it  is  unclear  what  rights,  if  any,  will  be  accorded  to  workers 
employed  in  the  zones. 


182 


KENYA 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

The  Constitution  prohibits  forced  labor  and  there  were  no 
known  allegations  concerning  forced  labor  in  1990.   Under  the 
Chiefs'  Authority  Act  a  local  authority  can  require  people  to 
perform  community  services  in  the  context  of  an  emergency,  but 
there  were  no  known  instances  of  this  practice  in  1990. 
People  so  employed  must  be  paid  the  prevailing  wage  for  such 
employment.   The  ILO's  Committee  of  Experts  has  found  these 
and  other  provisions  of  Kenyan  law  not  in  conformance  with  ILO 
Conventions  29  and  105  concerning  forced  labor,  both  of  which 
Kenya  has  ratified. 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  the  Employment  of  Children 

The  Employment  Act  of  1976  proscribes  the  employment  in  any 
industrial  undertaking  of  children  under  the  age  of  16.   This 
Act  applies  neither  to  the  agricultural  sector,  where  the 
overwhelming  majority  of  the  labor  force  is  employed,  nor  to 
children  serving  as  apprentices  under  the  terms  of  the 
Industrial  Training  Act.   Ministry  of  Labor  officers  are 
authorized  to  enforce  the  Minimum  Age  Statute.   Enforcement  is 
limited,  but  violations  are  not  widespread. 

e.  Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

The  legal  minimum  wage  for  workers  in  the  wage  sector  varies 
by  location,  age,  and  skills.   On  May  25,  1990,  the  minimum 
wage  was  raised  on  average  some  11  percent.   In  the  rural 
areas  of  the  country,  the  amount  paid  is  $23  per  month;  the 
highest  minimum  wage  is  for  drivers  and  cashiers  in  Nairobi 
and  in  Mombasa,  i.e.  $90  per  month.   Given  the  double  digit 
inflation  and  currency  depreciation,  most  workers  are,  at 
best,  only  able  to  eke  out  a  marginal  existence.   The 
Regulation  of  Wages  and  Conditions  of  Employment  Act  limits 
the  normal  workweek  to  52  hours.   Night-time  employees, 
however,  can  be  employed  for  60  hours  a  week.   As  is  the  case 
with  respect  to  minimum  age  limitations,  the  Act  specifically 
excludes  agricultural  workers  from  its  purview.   An  employee 
in  the  nonagr icultural  sector  is  entitled  to  1  rest  day  in  a 
week.   There  are  also  provisions  for  annual  leave  and  sick 
leave,   with  respect  to  limits  on  overtime,  the  law  provides 
that  the  total  hours  worked  (i.e.  regular  time  plus  overtime) 
in  any  2  week  period  for  night  workers  cannot  exceed  144 
hours;  for  other  workers  the  limit  is  120  hours.   The  Ministry 
of  Labor  is  tasked  with  enforcing  these  regulations,  but 
according  to  ministry  officials  reported  violations  are  few. 

The  Factories  Act  of  1951  sets  forth  detailed  health  and 
safety  standards  in  the  nonagr icultural  sector;  the  Act  was 
amended  in  1990  to  expand  its  coverage  to  the  "non-industrial 
sector"  which  presumably  includes  agriculture.   Health  and 
safety  inspectors  have  the  authority  to  inspect  factories  and 
work  sites  if  they  have  reason  to  believe  that  a  violation  of 
the  Act  has  occurred  or  upon  a  complaint  of  a  worker.   In 
practice,  inspectors,  who  are  relatively  few  in  number, 
respond  only  to  worker  complaints.   If  the  alleged  violation 
appears  to  have  a  basis  in  fact,  the  inspector  can  bring  the 
complaint  before  a  magistrate.   The  latter  has  the  authority 
to  order  the  factory  or  plant  in  question  to  rectify  the 
dangerous  practice  or  condition.   If  the  violation  is 
egregious,  the  magistrate  can  close  the  work  site  completely. 
Workers  who  file  complaints  are  not  protected  by  the  Factories 
Act. 


183 


LESOTHO 


A  six-member  Military  Council,  led  by  Major  General  J.  M. 
Lekhanya,  has  ruled  Lesotho  since  seizing  power  in  a  coup 
d'etat  in  1986.   Although  the  Military  Council  was  firmly  in 
control  of  the  State,  it  formally  conferred  all  legislative 
and  executive  power  on  Moshoeshoe  II,  the  previously  powerless 
King  of  Lesotho.   Forced  out  by  the  Military  Council  in 
February,  the  King  left  Lesotho  in  March  for  exile  in  London. 
In  Noven±)er  the  Military  Council  deposed  King  Moshoeshoe  and 
installed  Crown  Prince  Mohato,  henceforth  known  as  Letsie  III, 
as  constitutional  Monarch  and  Head  of  State.   Lekhanya  and 
Moshoeshoe  had  disagreed  over  the  terms  of  the  King's  return 
from  exile. 

The  Military  Council  rules  by  decree,  while  a  predominantely 
civilian  Council  of  Ministers  administers  the  day-to-day 
operations  of  government.   While  the  military  regime  continued 
the  1986  ban  on  partisan  political  activity  in  1990,  it 
announced  plans  to  restore  constitutional  rule,  which  was 
abolished  in  1970  by  former  Prime  Minister  Jonathan,  by  1992. 
It  convoked  a  National  Constituent  Assembly  in  June,  composed 
of  a  broad  cross  section  of  national  and  local  leaders, 
including  military  officers,  to  revise  the  1966  independence 
Constitution.   At  the  end  of  1990,  the  Assembly  had  retained 
or  amended  half  of  the  1966  Constitution,  with  a  goal  of 
mid-March  1991  set  to  complete  the  revisions. 

The  Royal  Lesotho  Defense  Force  (RLDF)  of  about  2,000  troops 
is  responsible  for  internal  and  border  security.   The  RLDF  is 
assisted  by  a  police  force  of  roughly  equal  size.   Members  of 
both  forces  occasionally  beat  or  otherwise  mistreat  detainees. 

A  landlocked  country  completely  surrounded  by  South  Africa, 
Lesotho  is  almost  entirely  dependent  on  its  sole  neighbor  for 
trade,  finance,  employment,  and  access  to  the  outside  world. 
Approximately  60  percent  of  the  adult  male  labor  force  is 
employed  in  South  Africa's  mines,  and  remittances  from  workers 
(more  than  $230  million  in  1988)  are  a  critical  factor  in 
financing  imports. 

Human  rights  in  Lesotho  in  1990  remained  circumscribed.   Major 
concerns  included:   provisions  for  lengthy  detention, 
restrictions  on  freedom  of  speech,  assembly,  and  the  right  of 
citizens  to  change  their  government  through  democratic  means, 
and  severe  restrictions  on  women's  rights.   At  year's  end,  it 
was  too  early  to  tell  how  the  Government's  reform  program 
would  be  implemented  and  what  effect  it  would  have  on  the 
observance  of  human  rights. 

RESPECT  FOR  HUMAN  RIGHTS 

Section  1   Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.   Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

Following  a  judicial  inquiry  starting  in  November  1989,  the 
Government  in  1990  brought  to  trial  two  members  of  the 
military,  including  a  former  member  of  the  ruling  Military 
Council,  for  complicity  in  the  brutal  1986  murders  of  former 
Ministers  of  Information  and  Foreign  Affairs,  Desmond  Sixishe 
and  "Vincent  Makhele,  and  their  wives.   The  trial  took  place  in 


184 


LESOTHO 

open  session  in  the  High  Court  of  Maseru  and  featured  graphic 
testimony  by  a  survivor  of  the  killings  and  by  accomplices  in 
the  murders  (see  Section  i.e.).   At;  year's  end,  the 
prosecution  and  defense  had  rested  their  cases  and  made  final 
arguments.   The  presiding  judge  expects  to  deliver  his 
judgment  by  March  1991. 

Amnesty  International  (AI)  has  continued  to  press  for 
inquiries  into  the  suspicious  1988  deaths,  while  in  custody, 
of  Samuel  Hlapo,  a  hijacker,  and  Mazizi  Maqokesa,  a  South 
African  exiled  member  of  the  African  National  Congress,  but  no 
inquests  were  held  in  1990. 

Some  excesses  by  law  enforcement  agencies  continued  to  occur 
in  1990,  including  the  fatal  shooting  in  August  by  a  policeman 
of  a  student  mistakenly  believed  to  have  been  involved  in  a 
demonstration.   The  policeman  has  been  charged  and  will  be 
tried  in  the  High  Court.   There  are  unconfirmed  but  reliable 
reports  that  other  youths  have  been  fatally  shot  by  policemen 
without  adequate  justification.   No  charges  are  known  to  have 
been  brought  in  those  instances . 

b.  Disappearance 

There  were  no  reports  of  politically  related  disappearances  in 
1990,  nor  were  there  any  further  instances  of  reported 
abductions  by  South  African  authorities  in  Lesotho,  as 
occurred  in  previous  years. 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment 

In  1990  there  were  continuing  reports  of  police  brutality, 
including  beatings  of  detainees.   Police  reportedly  struck  the 
mother  of  the  student  shot  and  killed  by  a  policeman  when  she 
ran  to  his  aid  (see  Section  l.a.).   However,  there  were  fewer 
such  reports  since  the  ending  of  the  State  of  Emergency  (SOE) 
in  August  1989 . 

d.  Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

In  civil  and  criminal  cases,  persons  arrested  or  detained  have 
the  right  to  immediate  consideration  of  habeas  corpus  appeals 
as  well  as  the  right  to  legal  and  medical  counsel.   The  1981 
Criminal  Procedures  and  Evidence  Act,  as  amended  in  1984, 
makes  provision  for  the  granting  of  bail.   Under  the  Act,  the 
High  Court  is  the  only  judicial  body  empowered  to  grant  bail 
in  cases  of  armed  robbery  or  suspected  homicide. 

In  political  cases,  the  Internal  Security  (general)  Act  (ISA) 
of  1984  applies.   This  Act  provides  for  so-called 
investigative  detention  without  charge  or  trial  for  up  to  42 
days  (the  first  14  days  on  order  of  the  police;  the  second  14 
days  on  order  of  the  police  commissioner;  and  the  final  14 
days  on  order  of  the  Minister  of  Defense  and  Internal 
Security).   Detainees  may  be  held  up  to  14  days.   During  the 
second  stage  of  the  detention,  ministerially  appointed 
"advisers"  (all  of  whom  have  been  government  employees  to 
date)  report  on  the  health  of  the  detainee,  investigate 
whether  the  detainee  has  been  involved  in  subversive 
activities,  and  advise  the  Minister  of  Defense  and  Internal 
Security  whether  there  is  a  need  for  continued  detention. 
Detainees  under  the  Act  may  make  representation  about  their 
own  treatment  only  through  the  adviser.   The  Act  also  allows 
for  detention  of  witnesses  in  security  cases. 


185 


LESOTHO 

In  addition,  a  1986  amendment  to  the  ISA  allows  the  Minister 
of  Defense  and  Internal  Security  (currently  the  Chairman  of 
the  Military  Council)  to  "restrict"  a  person  who,  in  the 
opinion  of  the  police  commissioner,  is  conducting  himself  in  a 
manner  prejudicial  to  public  order,  security,  administration 
of  justice,  or  obedience  to  the  law  or  lawful  authority.   The 
Government  retains  the  power  to  restrict  the  movements  of  such 
a  person  to  a  certain  location  and  to  certain  hours  of  the  day 
and  may  prohibit  his  association  or  communication  with  other 
persons,  but  it  was  not  used  in  1990. 

The  Government's  general  amnesty  for  exiled  Basotho 
politicians  remained  in  effect.   Following  his  return  to 
Lesotho  in  February  1989,  Ntsu  Mokhehle,  the  leader  of  the 
Basutoland  Congress  Party,  took  the  seat  offered  to  him  in 
June  1990  in  the  Constituent  Assembly.   Other  opposition 
political  leaders  also  took  seats  in  the  Assembly  and 
participated  actively  in  debates  there. 

Following  a  dispute  with  the  Military  Council  in  February  over 
the  exercise  of  executive  and  legislative  authority  (the  King 
refused  to  dismiss  four  ministers).  King  Moshoeshoe  II  left 
Lesotho  for  exile  in  London.   While  in  exile,  he  continued  to 
criticize  in  writings  and  interviews  the  Government,  leading 
the  Attorney  General  to  issue  a  legal  opinion  that  the 
Government  had  grounds  under  the  Office  of  the  King  Order  of 
1970  to  declare  that  the  King  had  abdicated  the  throne. 
Subsequent  negotiations  between  General  Lekhanya  and  the  King 
proved  unsuccessful,  and  in  November  the  Military  Council 
deposed  the  King  and  installed  Crown  Prince  Mohato  as  King 
Letsie  III,  constitutional  Monarch  and  Head  of  State. 

In  the  long  power  struggle  between  the  King  and  the  Military 
Council,  three  Military  Council  members  were  sacked  including 
Colonel  Sekhobe  Letsie.   He  is  one  of  the  defendants  on  trial 
for  the  murder  of  two  former  cabinet  ministers  and  their  wives. 

e.   Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

The  judiciary  consists  of  the  Court  of  Appeal,  the  High  Court, 
magistrate  courts,  and  customary  or  traditional  courts,  which 
exist  largely  in  rural  areas  to  administer  customary  law. 
Court  decisions  and  rulings  are  respected  by  the  authorities 
and  are  generally  free  of  interference  by  the  executive. 
Accused  persons  have  the  right  to  counsel  and  public  trials. 
The  courts  have  acted  to  limit  infringements  of  law  on 
numerous  occasions  in  past  years,  e.g.,  the  April  1988 
annulment  of  the  SOE  on  procedural  grounds  (but  which  the 
Government  quickly  reinstituted) . 

Under  the  system  of  Roman-Dutch  law  applied  in  Lesotho,  there 
is  no  trial  by  jury.   Criminal  trials  are  normally  adjudicated 
by  a  single  High  Court  judge  who  presides  with  two  assessors, 
who  serve  in  an  advisory  capacity.   In  civil  cases,  judges 
normally  hear  cases  alone.   The  High  Court  also  provides 
procedural  and  substantive  advice  and  guidance  on  matters  of 
legal  procedure  to  military  tribunals;  however,  it  does  not 
participate  in  arriving  at  judgments.   Military  tribunals  have 
jurisdiction  only  over  military  cases. 

A  judicial  inquest  is  initiated  by  the  Attorney  General  on  the 
authority  of  the  Judicial  Inquest  Proclamation  Number  32  of 
1954.   He  initiated  such  an  inquiry  in  November  1989  into  the 
1986  slayings  of  the  two  ministers  and  their  wives.   The  two 
military  men  charged  with  these  murders  were  being  tried 


186 


LESOTHO 

before  a  high  court  during  the  latter  half  of  1990.   The  case 
was  heard  in  open  court  by  the  Chief  Justice  (who  rules  on 
matters  of  law),  accompanied  by  two  civilian  assessors  (who 
will  rule  with  him  on  matters  of  fact).   Public  attendance  was 
high  throughout  the  trial,  which  was  conducted  fairly  and  in 
accordance  with  Roman-Dutch  judicial  procedure.   A  decision  is 
expected  in  March  1991.   Either  defendant  can  appeal  a 
conviction  to  the  Court  of  Appeals.   The  Director  of  Public 
Prosecutions  can  appeal  an  acquittal  but  only  on  a  point  of 
law. 

There  were  no  known  political  prisoners  in  Lesotho  at  the  end 
of  1990. 

f .   Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 
Correspondence 

In  1990  there  were  far  fewer  reports  of  violations  of 
individual  privacy  by  state  authorities  compared  to  the  period 
the  SOE  was  in  effect.   The  ISA  provides  police  with  wide 
powers  to  stop  and  search  persons  and  vehicles  and  to  enter 
homes  and  other  places  for  similar  purposes  without  a 
warrant.   Correspondence  appears  to  be  monitored  occasionally 
by  government  officials. 

Section  2  Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  including: 

a.   Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

The  Human  Rights  Act  of  1983  provides  for  freedom  of 
expression  but  subordinates  this  freedom  to  the  needs  of 
national  security.   Following  the  1986  coup,  a  formal  ban  on 
politics  was  announced  with  stringent  restrictions  on  freedom 
of  speech  and  political  assembly.   In  particular.  Government 
Order  No.  4  of  1986  prohibits  persons  and  groups  from  making 
political  speeches  and  from  publishing  or  distributing 
political  party  materials.   Despite  the  ban  on  organized 
political  party  activity,  members  of  Lesotho's  seven 
registered  political  parties  participated  actively  in  debates 
on  a  wide  range  of  political  issues  in  the  Constituent 
Assembly.   The  Chairman  of  the  Military  Council  made  clear 
that  political  leaders  were  free  to  discuss  Assembly  matters 
outside  the  Chamber,  providing  they  did  not  do  so  on  a 
partisan  basis;  in  fact,  such  discussions  rarely  criticized 
government  policies  directly  but  were  primarily  focused  on  the 
constitutional  'issues.   Debate  in  the  Constituent  Assembly  was 
frequently  lively  and  was  often  critical  of  the  Government; 
daily  reports  were  broadcast  on  the  radio,  and  most  weekly 
papers  carried  a  summary  of  the  discussions. 

The  Government  controls  the  official  media  (one  radio  station, 
a  half-hour  daily  newscast  on  a  local  television  channel,  and 
two  weekly  newspapers)  and  ensures  that  they  faithfully 
reflect  government  views.   Although  criticism  of  the  King  was 
disseminated  through  these  media,  the  Government  rarely  uses 
them  to  attack  its  partisan  critics.   Opposition  viewpoints 
were  routinely  expressed  in  1990  in  two  Sesotho-language 
weekly  newspapers  published  by  the  Roman  Catholic  Church  and 
the  Lesotho  Evangelical  Church  and  two  independent 
English- language  weeklies.   In  August  two  government 
journalists  were  fired,  purportedly  for  asking  questions  of  a 
U.S.  Information  Service-sponsored  visitor  about  the 
Government's  management  of  foreign  assistance  to  Lesotho. 


187 


LESOTHO 

Academic  freedom  is  generally  respected,  although  there  have 
been  complaints  from  some  professors  and  students  about 
restrictions  on  their  ability  to  discuss  academic  and 
political  issues.   Student  representatives  openly  criticized 
the  Government  and  called  for  greater  political  freedoms 
during  graduation  ceremonies  in  September;  no  reprisals  were 
known  to  have  taken  place. 

b.  Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

The  military  Government's  ban  on  "politics"  was  not 
interpreted  to  require  the  dissolution  of  existing  political 
parties,  but  the  ban  does  preclude  political  gatherings  and 
rallies.   Meetings  of  the  appointed  Constituent  Assembly  in 
1990  were  open  to  the  public.   Nonpolitical  organizations  and 
professional  groups  are  freely  formed,  even  encouraged,  and 
are  allowed  to  hold  public  and  regular  meetings. 

c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

There  is  no  state  religion  in  Lesotho.   Free  and  open 
religious  practice  is  permitted  and  encouraged.   Christianity 
is  the  dominant  faith  of  the  majority  of  Basotho,  and  Roman 
Catholicism  has  the  most  adherents,  although  less  than  half 
the  population.   There  is  a  significant  Protestant  minority 
composed  of  the  Lesotho  Evangelical  Church,  the  Anglican 
Church,  and  a  number  of  other  smaller  denominations. 
Conversion  is  permitted,  and  there  is  no  apparent  social  or 
political  benefit  or  stigma  attached  to  belonging  to  any 
particular  church.   There  are  no  bars  to  missionary  activity 
or  work  by  foreign  clergy. 

d.  Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

Citizens  generally  are  allowed  to  move  freely  within  the 
country  and  across  national  boundaries.   There  were  instances 
in  recent  years,  however,  in  which  the  Government  restricted 
passports  for  political  reasons,  but  none  occurred  in  1990. 
The  Government  places  no  obstacles  in  the  way  of  its  own 
citizens  who  wish  to  emigrate. 

In  the  first  few  months  of  1990,  the  number  of  refugees 
entering  Lesotho  increased  significantly,  surpassing  the  1989 
total  of  56  by  the  beginning  of  May.   The  majority  were  South 
African,  Pan  African  Congress-affiliated  youth  from  Ciskei. 
Consistent  with  past  practice,  the  Government  permitted  them 
to  stay  pending  onward  travel  to  a  third  country.   There  are 
currently  about  250  registered  refugees  who  have  been  granted 
asylum  in  Lesotho,  the  majority  unaffiliated  South  Africans. 

Section  3   Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

Citizens  of  Lesotho  currently  do  not  have  the  freedom  to 
change  their  government.   However,  in  1990  the  military 
Government  announced  that  it  intends  to  hand  over  power  to  a 
democratically  elected  government  by  the  middle  of  1992.   It 
convened  a  National  Constituent  Assembly  (NCA)  in  June  to 
revise  the  independence  Constitution  of  1966,  and  plans  a 
series  of  town  meetings  ("pitsos")  in  the  spring  of  1991  to 
discern  public  opinion  before  the  NCA  votes  on  the  final 
text.   At  the  end  of  1990,  plans  called  for  Lesotho  to  remain 
a  kingdom,  under  a  constitutional  monarch,  with  multiple 
parties,  and  an  independent  judiciary. 


188 


LESOTHO 

Section  4  Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

The  Government  has  not  been  responsive  on  human  rights  issues, 
particularly  when  the  call  for  outside  investigation  emanated 
from  the  domestic  political  opposition.   There  are  no  internal 
human  rights  organizations,  either  official  or 
nongovernmental,  although  church  and  other  groups  occasionally 
address  human  rights  issues.   The  Transformation  Resource 
Center,  a  social  development  center  which  is  an  ecumenical 
associate  member  of  the  Christian  Council  of  Lesotho,  was 
searched  in  early  December  by  uniformed  and  plainclothes 
policemen  with  a  vague  search  warrant.   Over  50  videotapes, 
cassettes,  and  documents  were  temporarily  removed  from  the 
premises.   Reports  of  alleged  human  rights  abuses  are 
sometimes  carried  in  the  local  press,  particularly  the 
Center's  monthly  newsletter,  church  newspapers,  and  Lesotho's 
major  independent  weekly. 

Section  5  Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

Most  citizens  of  Lesotho  speak  a  common  language  and  share 
common  historical  and  cultural  traditions.   Asians  (primarily 
ethnic  Chinese  and  Indians)  and  South  African  whites  are 
active  in  the  country's  commercial  life.   In  1987  the 
Government  formulated  a  policy  aimed  at  "localization"  of 
Lesotho's  commercial  retail  trade,  and,  under  the  Trading 
Enterprise  Order,  called  on  foreign  owners  to  enter  into  joint 
ventures  with  Basotho  nationals.   Equity  transfers  would 
entail  compensation.   To  date,  the  localization  order  has  not 
been  strictly  enforced,  due  largely  to  difficulties  in 
identifying  local  entrepreneurs  to  take  over  foreign-owned 
businesses  and  in  financing  such  takeovers,  and  to  concern 
over  foreign  reaction. 

Although  the  question  was  briefly  debated  in  the  Constituent 
Assembly  in  1990,  the  Government  has  still  not  seriously 
addressed  the  issue  of  women's  rights.   In  Lesotho  these 
rights  are  severely  limited  by  both  law  and  custom,  including 
in  the  area  of  property,  inheritance,  and  contracts,  but  women 
do  have  the  legal  and  customary  right  to  make  a  will  and  sue 
for  divorce.   Under  Lesotho's  customary  law,  a  married  woman 
is  considered  a  minor  during  the  lifetime  of  her  husband,  with 
all  of  the  legal  limitations  that  this  status  implies.   She 
cannot  enter  into  any  legally  binding  contract,  whether  for 
employment,  commerce,  or  education,  without  her  husband's 
consent.   A  married  woman  has  no  standing  in  court  and  cannot 
sue  or  be  sued  without  her  husband's  permission. 

Despite  their  second-class  status,  women  in  Lesotho 
traditionally  have  been  the  stabilizing  force  in  the  home  and 
in  the  agricultural  sector,  given  the  absence  of  over  100,000 
Basotho  men  who  work  in  South  Africa.   More  female  than  male 
children  complete  primary  and  secondary  schools. 

Domestic  violence,  including  wife  beating,  occurs,  but,  as 
statistics  are  not  available,  the  extent  of  the  problem  is  not 
known.   In  Basotho  tradition  a  wife  may  return  to  her 
"maidenhome"  if  physically  abused  by  her  husband;  in  common 
law,  wife  beating  is  a  criminal  offense  and  defined  as  assault 
under  the  1981  Criminal  Procedure  and  Evidence  Act.   A  1976 
High  Court  case  successfully  reversed  a  Roman-Dutch  legal 
tradition  which  recognized  a  husband's  right  to  chastise  his 


189 


LESOTHO 

wife  at  will.   While  the  Government  has  made  some  attempts  to 
improve  the  economic  prospects  of  women,  very  little  direct 
action  has  been  taken  to  improve  their  subordinate  status  in 
society.   Women's  rights  organizations  are  beginning  to  be 
formed,  including  a  partnership  of  women  lawyers  which  has 
expressed  interest  in  handling  such  cases.   Female 
circumcision  is  not  practiced. 

Section  6  Worker  Rights 

a.   The  Right  of  Association 

Workers  are  free  to  join  or  form  unions  without  prior 
government  authorization.   Roughly  60  percent  of  Lesotho's 
active  male  labor  force  between  the  ages  of  20  and  44  works  in 
the  Republic  of  South  Africa,  mainly  in  gold  and  coal  mines. 
At  least  70  percent  of  the  remainder  is  engaged  in  traditional 
agriculture.   The  rest  is  employed  mainly  by  the  Government 
and  in  small  industries  and  enterprises  in  Lesotho.   A 
majority  of  Basotho  mineworkers  are  members  of  the  South 
African  National  Union  of  Mineworkers  (NUM) .   Because  the  NUM 
is  an  extraterritorial  worker  organization,  it  is  not 
permitted  to  engage  in  union  activities  in  Lesotho. 

There  are  two  trade  union  federations  in  Lesotho,  the  Lesotho 
Congress  of  Free  Trade  Unions  (LCFTU)  and  the  Lesotho 
Federation  of  Trade  Unions  (LFTU) .   The  much  larger  LCFTU 
encompasses  24  affiliated  independent  trade  unions;  the  LFTU 
has  4.   Like  its  predecessor,  the  current  Government  supports 
the  formation  of  a  single,  umbrella  trade  union  center,  and  it 
has  been  trying  since  1988  to  arrange  a  merger  between 
Lesotho's  two  competing  federations. 

The  Government  believes  that  the  size  of  Lesotho's  work  force 
does  not  warrant  the  more  than  30  existing  labor  unions  and 
would  like  to  see  these  consolidated.   Those  favoring  a  merger 
argue  that  it  would  eliminate  competition  among  unions  in 
their  negotiations  with  employers  and  enhance  the  bargaining 
power  of  the  work  force.   There  are,  however,  deep 
philosophical,  political,  and  ideological  differences  between 
the  two  federations,  reflecting  the  historical  differences  of 
the  two  political  parties  with  which  they  are  affiliated.   As 
the  federations  were  unable  to  reach  agreement  in  1990,  the 
Government  is  still  considering  legislation  to  compel  the 
desired  merger . 

While  a  legal  right  to  strike  exists  for  workers  in 
nonessential  services,  in  practice  the  procedure  for  calling  a 
strike  is  so  lengthy  and  cumbersome  that  it  discourages  legal 
strike  actions  and  accounts  for  the  prevalence  of  wildcat 
strikes.   The  1964  Trade  Union  and  Trade  Disputes  Act 
enumerates  lengthy  procedures  which  must  be  followed  before  a 
strike  is  called.   The  last  general  strike  was  in  1961; 
although  a  general  strike  was  called  in  September  1990,  it  was 
not  effective.   There  were  several  wildcat  strikes  in  1990 
against  both  foreign  and  domestic  companies,  mostly  over  wages 
and  conditions  of  work.   Usually,  wildcat  strikes  have  been  of 
short  duration  and  ended  in  compromise,  often  with  the 
Government  stepping  in  to  bring  the  parties  to  an  agreement. 

In  1989  a  new  union  was  formed  to  represent  construction 
workers  for  the  $2  billion  Lesotho  Highlands  Water  Project. 
In  1990  these  workers  again  struck  the  construction  firms 
building  infrastructure  for  the  Project.   The  workers  were 
protesting  differential  wage  and  working  conditions  and  the 


190 


LESOTHO 

employment  of  large  numbers  of  South  African  workers.   The 
action  turned  violent  and  resulted  in  serious  injury  to  two 
workers  when  they  resisted  arrest  by  police.   An  illegal 
demonstration  by  union  members  took  place  2  days  later  in 
Maseru;  the  Government  permitted  the  march,  and  the  Military 
Council  Chairman  received  a  petition  from  two  of  the  marchers. 

The  LCFTU  is  a  member  of  the  Southern  African  Trade  Union 
Coordination  Council,  the  Organization  of  African  Trade  Union 
Unity,  and  the  International  Confederation  of  Free  Trade 
Unions.   The  LFTU  has  fewer  international  affiliations  but  is 
becoming  more  active  internationally.   The  Government  imposes 
no  obstacles  to  international  affiliations  or  foreign  travel 
for  labor  union-related  purposes. 

b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

All  trade  unions  in  Lesotho  enjoy  the  right  to  organize  and 
bargain  collectively.   These  rights  were  established  in  the 
1964  Trade  Union  and  Trade  Disputes  Act  and  in  the  1967 
Employment  Act,  as  amended  in  1977.   There  is  also  an  unfair 
labor  practices  tribunal  whose  mandate  is  to  investigate 
unfair  labor  practices  and  charges  of  antiunion 
discrimination,  and  generally  to  safeguard  worker  rights.   A 
government-appointed  labor  commission  is  charged  with,  inter 
alia,  monitoring  wage  and  working  conditions  and  accepting, 
reviewing,  and  investigating  worker  complaints. 

In  1989,  following  extensive  local  tripartite  consultations, 
the  Government  gave  preliminary  approval  to  a  draft  labor 
code,  developed  in  consultation  with  the  International  Labor 
Organization  (ILO),  which  would  bring  the  country's  labor  laws 
into  full  conformity  with  ILO  standards  for  collective 
bargaining  and  greatly  simplify  the  right  to  strike.   Since 
then,  however,  the  Government  has  delayed  bringing  this  text 
into  law,  and  no  progress  toward  implementation  was  made  in 
1990. 

Lesotho  has  several  industrial  estates  grouping  together 
companies,  mostly  textile  and  apparel  firms,  engaged  in 
manufacturing  for  export.   There  are  no  prohibitions  against 
organized  labor  in  these  industrial  zones,  and  labor  laws  are 
applied  uniformly  throughout  the  country. 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

Forced  or  compulsory  labor  is  not  practiced  and  is  prohibited 
by  the  1987  Employment  Act. 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

The  legal  minimum  age  for  employment  in  commercial  or 
industrial  enterprises  is  14.   In  practice,  however,  children 
under  14  are  employed  in  family-owned  businesses.   There  are 
prohibitions  against  the  employment  of  minors  in  commercial, 
industrial,  or  nonfamily  enterprises  involving  hazardous  or 
dangerous  working  conditions.   Basotho  minors  under  18  years 
may  not  be  recruited  for  employment  outside  of  Lesotho. 
Enforcement  of  these  laws  by  inspectors  of  the  Ministry  of 
Employment,  Social  Welfare  and  Pensions  is  lax. 

In  Lesotho's  traditional  society,  life  and  working  conditions 
for  the  country's  young  "herdboys"  tend  to  be  much  more 
rigorous  and  demanding  than  conditions  in  the  modern  sector. 
Their  c[uasi-pastoral  life,  however,  is  considered  a 


191 


LESOTHO 

prerequisite  to  manhood  and  is  a  fundamental  feature  of 
Basotho  life,  tradition,  and  culture,  beyond  the  reach  of 
labor  laws. 

e.   Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

Wages  in  Lesotho  are  extremely  low.   The  Government,  through 
the  mechanism  of  a  tripartite  wages  advisory  board,  again 
raised  minimum  wage  rates  in  1990  for  various  types  of  work. 
These  ranged  from  $81  a  month  for  light  unskilled  labor  to 
about  $103  per  month  for  semiskilled  jobs.   These  amounts  are 
sufficient  for  a  minimum  decent  standard  of  living.   Most  wage 
earners  supplement  their  monthly  income  through  subsistence 
agriculture  and/or  remittances  from  relatives  employed  in 
South  Africa.   Many  employers  in  Lesotho  now  pay  more  than 
minimum  wages  in  an  effort  to  attract  and  retain  motivated 
employees . 

Lesotho's  1967  Employment  Act  spells  out  basic  worker  rights, 
including  a  45-hour  workweek,  a  weekly  rest  period  of  at  least 
24  hours,  11  to  12  days'  paid  leave  per  year,  and  pay  for 
public  holidays.   Employers  are  required  to  provide  adequate 
light,  ventilation,  and  sanitary  facilities  for  employees,  and 
to  install  and  maintain  machinery  to  minimize  the  risk  of 
injury.   In  practice,  these  regulations  are  generally  followed 
only  within  the  wage  economy  and  are  enforced  by  inspectors 
from  the  Department  of  Labor  of  the  Ministry  of  Employment, 
Social  Welfare  and  Pensions. 

In  collaboration  with  the  ILO,  the  Government  began  a  3-year 
project  in  1990  to  upgrade  its  national  occupational  and 
health  safety  standards.   This  is  a  regional  project  which 
also  includes  Botswana  and  Swaziland. 


192 


LIBERIA 


At  the  beginning  of  1990,  Liberia  was  a  nation  which,  while 
theoretically  under  a  constitution  and  legal  system  patterned 
on  America's,  was  in  essence  ruled  by  one  man:   Samuel  K.  Doe, 
through  his  army  and  political  party.   In  late  December  1989, 
a  small  group  of  insurgents  from  the  National  Patriotic  Front 
of  Liberia  (NPFL) ,  led  by  Charles  Taylor,  crossed  into  Liberia 
from  the  Ivory  Coast  to  attack  government  targets  in 
northeastern  Liberia's  Nimba  county.   The  Armed  Forces  of 
Liberia  (AFL)  responded  by  carrying  out  a  brutal  series  of 
attacks  on  civilian  targets  in  Nimba,  singling  out  members  of 
the  Mano  and  Gio  tribes  for  retribution  because  of  their 
perceived  support  for  the  rebels. 

The  Gio  and  Mano  responded  by  siding  with  the  insurgents  and, 
in  turn,  targeting  Doe's  tribe  (the  Krahn) ,  along  with  the 
Mandingo,  whose  role  as  small  merchants  made  them  unpopular, 
and  many  of  whom  were  perceived  as  supporting  the  government. 
The  insurgency  spread  throughout  Liberia,  but,  although  NPFL 
forces  reached  the  suburbs  of  Monrovia  in  early  June,  they 
were  unable  to  defeat  the  AFL.   By  early  July  all  semblance  of 
the  old  government's  authority  had  vanished,  leaving  a 
stalemate  in  which  various  military  commanders  wielded  de 
facto  executive  and  judicial  power  in  their  respective  areas 
of  control.   Eventually  the  NPFL  was  driven  back  by  a 
five-nation  West  African  Peacekeeping  force  (ECOMOG),  which 
entered  Monrovia  at  the  end  of  August,  and  a  splinter  rebel 
group,  the  Independent  National  Patriotic  Front  of  Liberia 
(INPFL),  led  by  former  Taylor  military  commander  Prince 
Johnson.   An  "Interim  Government  of  National  Unity"  (IGNU), 
formed  in  Banjul  in  August  by  Liberian  exiles,  with  Amos 
Sawyer  as  President,  was  then  able  to  enter  Monrovia  and 
slowly  begin  to  assert  administrative  control  over  the  ravaged 
city.   The  three  warring  factions  (NPFL,  INPFL,  and  AFL)  met 
in  Banjul  on  December  20-21  and  agreed  to  hold  additional 
meetings  to  work  towards  a  cease-fire  and  holding  another 
all-Liberia  conference  in  Liberia  to  form  an  interim 
government  within  60  days. 

Both  the  rebel  and  the  AFL  soldiers  killed  innocent  civilians 
for  reasons  ranging  from  ethnic  identity  to  suspected 
collaboration  with  one  of  the  other  sides.   Most  of  the 
soldiers  involved  in  the  conflict  are  poorly  trained  and 
barely,  if  at  all,  disciplined.   Their  behavior  has  been  the 
greatest  source  of  human  rights  abuses  in  Liberia  in  1990,  and 
they  are  collectively  responsible  for  the  deaths  of  thousands 
of  civilians. 

Liberia  began  1990  with  a  mixed  economy  based  on  traditional 
agriculture  and  exports  of  iron  ore,  rubber,  and  timber. 
Virtually  all  export  activity  has  ceased,  and  a  great  deal  of 
the  traditional  agriculture  has  been  disrupted  by  the  massive 
population  displacements  caused  by  the  war.   With  the 
exception  of  a  single  rubber  plantation  operating  behind  rebel 
lines,  almost  all  organized  economic  activity  had  ceased  at 
year's  end. 

The  overall  human  rights  situation  in  Liberia  in  1990  was 
appalling.   All  combatants  routinely  engaged  in  indiscriminate 
killing  and  abuse  of  civilians,  looting,  and  ethnically  based 
executions,  with  one  of  the  worst  single  episodes  occurring  in 
July  when  AFL  soldiers  killed  approximately  600  persons  taking 
refuge  in  the  courtyard  of  St.  Peter's  Church.   Leaders  of  all 
the  armed  groups  did  little  or  nothing  to  stop  the  killings 
and,  in  some  cases,  may  have  encouraged  them  or  been  directly 


193 


LIBERIA 

responsible  for  the  abuses.   Thousands,  if  not  tens  of 
thousands,  of  civilians  died  in  the  Liberian  civil  war,  many 
of  them  from  malnutrition  and  disease  brought  on  by  economic 
collapse,  and  over  50  percent  of  the  population  has  been 
displaced.   Not  even  Doe  himself  was  immune.   On  September  9, 
he  was  captured  and  tortured  to  death  by  Prince  Johnson  and 
his  INPFL  forces. 

RESPECT  FOR  HUMAN  RIGHTS 

Section  1  Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.  Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

In  addition  to  the  thousands  of  civilians  killed 
extrajudicially  by  the  warring  parties  (see  Section  l.g), 
there  were  a  number  of  killings  specifically  committed  for 
political  reasons.   In  January  former  political  activist 
Robert  Phillips  was  brutally  murdered  in  his  Monrovia  home. 
Although  the  Doe  government's  Special  Antiterrorist  Unit  was 
probably  responsible,  there  was  no  government  investigation. 

As  fighting  drew  nearer  Monrovia,  reports  proliferated  of 
suspected  NPFL  sympathizers — including  Mano  and  Gio  members  of 

the  AFL being  detained  and  killed.   On  the  other  side,  there 

are  reliable  reports  that  the  NPFL  executed  several  prominent 
Liberian  political  figures,  including  former  Liberia  Action 
Party  leader  Jackson  F.  Doe.   On  September  9,  President  Doe 
was  tortured  by  Prince  Johnson  and  the  INPFL,  later  dying  of 
his  wounds. 

b.  Disappearance 

Disappearances  were  common  throughout  Liberia  in  1990,  with 
the  AFL,  NPFL,  and  INPFL  abducting  and  killing  civilians, 
sometimes  in  large  numbers,  who  were  perceived  as  enemies, 
based  primarily  on  ethnic  identity.   The  full  extent  of  this 
activity  may  never  be  known.   NPFL  and  INPFL  leaders 
threatened  severe  consequences  to  members  of  their 
organizations  engaging  in  such  activities,  but  it  is  unlikely 
that  these  warnings  had  any  real  effect. 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment 

The  most  graphic  example  of  torture  in  1990  was  the  videotaped 
interrogation  and  torture  of  President  Doe  by  rebel  leader 
Prince  Johnson  and  his  followers.   The  AFL  is  reported  to  have 
routinely  beaten  captives,  often  severely,  and  both  sides 
subjected  prisoners  to  mock  executions,  including  the  NPFL ' s 
mock  execution  of  an  American  journalist  held  by  them  in 
September.   Reports  of  the  torture  of  captives  in  the 
Executive  Mansion  by  Doe's  followers  were  frequent  and 
credible  but  in  most  cases  difficult  to  confirm  as  most  of  the 
victims  were  subsequently  executed.   As  the  fighting 
intensified,  AFL  soldiers  brutally  tortured  and  systematically 
executed  suspected  NPFL  sympathizers  held  in  the  grossly 
overcrowded  Barclay  Training  Center  prison.   Both  the  NPFL  and 
the  INPFL  severely  beat  and  tortured  prisoners  in  order  to 
extract  information.   There  are  also  reports  that  some  ECOMOG 
troops  resorted  to  similar  tactics. 

Before  the  civil  war  began,  conditions  for  prisoners  in  the 
nations 's  jails  were  hazardous  to  life  and  limb.   Prisoners 


194 


LIBERIA 

were  denied  access  to  family  and  medical  care.   Cells  were 
small,  crowded,  and  filthy,  and  care  of  captives  was  haphazard 
at  best.   Several  inmates  of  a  county  jail  in  Zwedru,  Grand 
Gedeh  county,  had  to  be  admitted  to  a  local  clinic  suffering 
from  malnutrition  when  the  commander  of  the  prison  embezzled 
their  rations;  one  died.   Conditions  at  the  maximum  security 
facility  at  Belle  Yella  have  long  been  of  concern;  there  have 
been  many  credible  reports  that  inmates  there  have  died  in  the 
last  few  years  as  a  result  of  disease,  malnutrition,  or 
torture.   Some  prisons  were  reportedly  opened  by  forces  of  all 
the  factions,  but  there  was  little  information  on  the  fate  of 
individual  prisoners. 

d.  Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

The  1985  Constitution  provides  specific  legal  safeguards  for 
the  rights  of  the  accused,  including  warrants  for  arrests,  and 
the  right  of  detainees  to  be  charged  or  released  within  48 
hours.   These  rights,  although  sometimes  enforced,  were 
frequently  violated,  either  due  to  procedural  incompetence  or 
to  willful  acts  by  the  authorities,  particularly  in  cases 
involving  national  security.   Brief  detentions  were  frequently 
used  as  a  form  of  petty  harassment.   Judicial  inefficiency  and 
neglect  often  resulted  in  prolonged  detention  without  charge. 
However,  by  early  July  the  entire  legal  system  had  ceased  to 
function,  and  whatever  legal  safeguards  that  had  previously 
existed  had  vanished. 

At  the  outset  of  the  civil  war,  Doe's  followers  rounded  up 
hundreds  of  male  Gio  and  Mano  residents  of  Monrovia  during 
January  and  February.   No  warrants  were  issued  for  their 
arrests,  and  no  judicial  officer  reviewed  the  action.   Many 
were  questioned  and  released,  others  were  held  for  long 
periods  or  killed.   During  the  fighting  throughout  the  war, 
both  sides  detained  members  of  opposing  ethnic  groups  at  will, 
with  no  procedural  safeguards.   As  fighting  drew  nearer  the 
capital,  the  frequency  of  arbitrary  arrest  and  execution  of 
perceived  enemies  by  both  the  government  and  the  NPFL 
increased  markedly. 

e.  Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

In  January  Liberia  possessed  a  legal  system  modeled  closely  on 
that  in  the  United  States,  including  a  judicial  structure  with 
a  Supreme  Court  at  its  apex,  protections  for  civil  rights  such 
as  the  right  to  be  charged  or  released  within  48  hours  of 
arrest,  and  a  requirement  for  arrest  and  search  warrants.   In 
practice,  however,  the  system  afforded  little  protection  for 
defendants'  rights.   Corruption  was  pervasive  among  court 
officials,  lack  of  training  and  supplies  hampered  the  work  of 
those  who  had  the  will  to  work,  and  the  system  as  a  whole  was 
subject  to  inordinate  executive  interference.   By  July,  the 
system  had  completely  collapsed  along  with  the  rest  of  civil 
authority,  and  justice  was  in  the  hands  of  military  commanders 
and  their  units. 

In  March,  in  an  effort  to  win  public  and  international 
support.  President  Doe  made  a  number  of  conciliatory  gestures 
towards  his  critics,  including  ordering  the  release  of 
imprisoned  Liberia  Unification  Party  leader  Gabriel  Kpolleh, 
attorney  Ceapar  Mabande  and  several  others.   They  had  been 
awaiting  a  retrial  ordered  by  the  Supreme  Court  of  their 
controversial  1988  treason  convictions. 


195 


LIBERIA 

There  were  a  number  of  other  political  prisoners  at  the  time 
of  the  collapse  of  the  Doe  government.   Many  of  these  are 
believed  to  have  been  released. 

f.  Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 
Correspondence 

The  almost  complete  lack  of  discipline  among  AFL  and  rebel 
soldiers  and  the  collapse  of  civil  authority  made  instances  of 
military  interference  with  civilian  life  common  in  1990.   Many 
of  these  instances  centered  around  theft  or  extortion,  with 
many  AFL  and  rebel  soldiers  regarding  possession  of  a  weapon 
as  a  license  to  steal  or  intimidate.   In  the  early  months  of 
the  fighting,  refugees  from  Nimba  reported  AFL  soldiers  going 
from  village  to  village,  demanding  cash  and  goods  from  the 
residents  and  beating  or  killing  those  who  refused  to 
surrender  their  possessions.   In  some  cases,  entire  villages 
were  looted  and  then  burned  by  marauding  troops.   Similarly, 
when  NPFL  forces  took  the  port  city  of  Buchanan  in  May,  they 
looted  the  town's  shops.   There  was  extensive  looting  by  the 
AFL  and  later  the  NPFL,  INPFL,  and  even  ECOMOG  in  Monrovia  and 
its  suburbs.   The  INPFL,  AFL,  and  NPFL  routinely  commandeered 
vehicles,  equipment,  gasoline,  and  food  from  rubber 
plantations  and  other  businesses  with  no  compensation.   During 
the  fighting  in  Monrovia,  even  diplomatic  facilities  were 
subject  to  forcible  entry  and  looting,  primarily  by  NPFL  and 
AFL  forces . 

g.  Use  of  Excessive  Force  and  Violations  of  Humanitarian 
Law  in  Internal  Conflicts 

The  vast  majority  of  killings  in  Liberia  over  the  course  of 
the  civil  war  occurred  when  both  government  and  insurgent 
soldiers  deliberately  killed  civilians  with  no  semblance  of 
trial,  hearing,  or  impartial  judgment,  and  with  no  fear  of 
being  held  accountable  for  their  acts.   Liberians  of  all  ages 
were  killed  on  the  basis  of  ethnic  identity,  religion,  of 
having  worked  for  the  government,  or  in  many  cases  for  refusal 
to  surrender  money  or  possessions  to  undisciplined  soldiers. 
The  majority  of  AFL  and  NPFL  soldiers  throughout  the  war  had 
free  reign  to  kill  civilian  members  of  opposing  ethnic 
groups.   INFPL  soldiers  also  sought  out  and  killed  Krahn  and 
Mandingo  civilians,  albeit  much  less  frequently  than  the  NPFL, 
especially  during  their  5  month  occupation  of  Bushrod  Island. 

The  total  number  of  civilians  killed  will  never  be  known,  but 
is  likely  to  number  in  the  thousands.   Atrocities  were 
initially  confined  almost  entirely  to  Nimba  county,  where  the 
NPFL  launched  its  insurgency,  but  as  the  fighting  continued 
and  control  of  territory  changed  from  government  to  insurgent 
forces,  different  ethnic  and  religious  groups  were 
victimized,   From  the  outset  of  the  conflict,  the  AFL 
primarily  killed  Gio  and  Mano  persons  but  also  targeted 
Americo-Liberians .   In  one  of  the  most  horrific  acts  of 
brutality,  AFL  soldiers  entered  the  compound  of  St.  Peter's 
Lutheran  Church  in  Sinkor  on  July  29,  where  hundreds  of  Gio 
and  Mano  civilians  had  gathered  for  safety.   The  soldiers 
shot,  stabbed,  and  hacked  to  death  men,  women,  and  children 
throughout  the  compound.   Journalists  and  others  who  later 
visited  the  site  estimated  the  number  of  dead  at  over  600. 
The  AFL  also  killed  scores  of  Gio  and  Mano  who  sought  refuge 
at  other  Monrovia  churches  and  the  United  Nations  compound. 
Reports  that  the  AFL  was  killing  civilians  and  dumping  their 
bodies  at  the  end  of  the  runway  at  Spr iggs-Payne  airfield  were 
confirmed  when  ECOMOG  forces  recaptured  the  area,  and 


196 


LIBERIA 

journalists  counted  over  100  corpses  at  the  edge  of  the  swamp 
that  borders  the  airfield.   Two  specialized  units  within  the 
AFL,  the  Executive  Mansion  Guard  (EMG)  and  the  Special 
Anti-Terrorist  Unit  (SATU),  were  primarily  responsible  for 
such  killings,  although  regular  AFL  units  were  also  involved. 

The  NPFL  also  killed  civilians,  again  based  primarily  on 
ethnic  considerations.   From  the  January  attack  on  Karnplay  in 
Nimba  county,  where  they  executed  government  officials  as  well 
as  private  citizens,  rebel  forces  routinely  singled  out 
members  of  the  Krahn  and  Mandingo  ethnic  groups  for  killing. 
Numerous  incidents  occurred  in  Nimba  county  in  January,  during 
the  capture  of  Buchanan  in  May,  and  in  Voinjima  in  July,  and 
in  Paynesville,  Gardnersville,  and  Sinkor  areas,  in  and  around 
Monrovia,  in  August,  September,  and  October  when  as  many  as 
several  hundred  Krahn  and  Mandingo,  including  women  and 
children  and  a  number  of  Nigerians  and  Ghanaians,  were 
summarily  killed.   In  late  September,  after  the  NPFL  entered 
Grand  Gedeh  county,  there  were  reports  by  refugees  who  fled 
the  area  that  the  NPFL  was  again  hunting  down  and  killing 
Krahns . 

The  NPFL  ordered  residents  to  evacuate  areas  under  its  control 
and  forced  them  through  checkpoints  where  anyone  suspected  of 
being  Krahn  or  Mandingo  or  a  former  government  employee  was 
identified  and  killed.   At  one  such  checkpoint  dubbed  "no 
return,"  the  NPFL  was  reliably  reported  to  have  killed  more 
than  2,000  people.   In  the  Monrovia  area  ECOMOG  buried 
hundreds  of  NPFL  victims  in  a  mass  grave  at  the  end  of  Dupont 
Road  in  Paynesville.   The  NPFL  also  shot  hundreds  of 
civilians,  according  to  credible  reports,  at  Fendall  and  the 
Gardnersville  Housing  Estate.   Following  Charles  Taylor's 
remarks  over  NPFL  radio  on  September  14  that  one  ECOMOG 
national  would  be  killed  for  every  Liberian  killed  by  ECOMOG 
forces,  NPFL  soldiers  turned  on  Nigerians,  Ghanaians,  Sierra 
Leoneans,  and  possibly  other  West  Africans  in  Paynesville  and 
Fendall.   At  food  distribution  points  and  medical  clinics,  the 
NPFL  required  that  registrants  identify  themselves  by  tribal 
affiliation.   Krahns  and  Mandingos  were  subsequently  sorted 
out  and  killed. 

Although  with  less  frequency  than  the  NPFL,  Prince  Johnson's 
INPFL  faction  is  reliably  reported  to  have  singled  out  and 
killed  Krahn  and  Mandingo,  including  Krahn  legislator  Chea 
Kayee,  removed  from  a  refugee  encampment  by  Johnson's  men  in 
mid-September  and  later  found  dead.   INPFL  soldiers  also 
identified  Krahn  and  Mandingo  civilians  on  Bushrod  Island  and 
killed  them,  including  women  and  children.   Some  200  corpses 
were  reported  to  have  been  left  near  the  base  of  a  bridge  to 
Bushrod  Island. 

In  both  the  AFL  and  NPFL,  few  soldiers  were  ever  disciplined 
for  such  actions,  and  almost  no  attempt  was  made  to  stop 
them.   The  government  did  relieve  the  first  commander  of  the 
forces  in  Nimba,  General  Smith,  on  January  23  because  of  poor 
discipline  within  the  ranks.   However,  his  replacement, 
General  Craig,  was  also  relieved  of  his  post  within  weeks,  and 
General  Smith  resumed  command.   Neither  side  made  m.ore  than  a 
token  effort  to  stop  killings  of  civilians  throughout  the  war. 

The  INPFL  did  issue  a  field  command  that  soldiers  guilty  of 
looting  or  killing  civilians  should  be  summarily  executed,  and 
some  were.   However,  INPFL  abuses  did  not  end,  and  the 
soldiers  themselves  were  mistreated  and  received  no  trial  or 
legal  protection.   INPFL  leader  Johnson  claimed  to  have 


197 


LIBERIA 

executed  some  INPFL  members  found  guilty  of  harassing  and 
killing  civilians.   Although  the  level  of  INPFL  abuses 
decreased  somewhat,  it  was  not  eliminated.   Despite  frequent 
claims  that  such  deaths  resulted  from  civilians  being  "caught 
in  the  crossfire,"  none  of  the  killings  discussed  here  were 
incidental  to  combat,  although  there  were  an  unknown  number  of 
civilian  casualties  from  ECOMOG  air  raids  against  the 
NPFL-cont rolled  port  of  Buchanan  and  near  Monrovia  in  November. 

Section  2  Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including: 

a.   Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

At  the  beginning  of  1990,  the  Liberian  press  was  under 
increasingly  serious  restrictions  and  intimidation  from  the 
government.   The  passage  of  an  act  creating  a  "Communications 
Commission"  designed  to  "monitor  and  control"  the  media  and 
the  fact  that  ECLM,  a  private  radio  station,  remained  closed 
further  encouraged  the  practice  of  self-censorship  among  many 
Liberian  journalists.   It  was  exacerbated  by  the  firebombing 
of  the  editorial  offices  of  The  Daily  Observer,  Monrovia's 
largest  circulation  paper,  in  March.   The  paper  continued  to 
publish,  as  did  several  others,  until  the  proximity  of 
fighting  to  Monrovia  forced  them  to  close.   AFL  soldiers 
subsequently  burned  down  the  Daily  Observer  offices  as  the 
rebels  closed  in  on  Monrovia. 

As  the  government's  control  slackened,  the  independent  media 
began  to  cover  the  civil  war  with  considerable  candor  and 
generally  gave  full  coverage  to  AFL  abuses  and  losses  and  to 
rebel  activities,  although  a  few  newspapers  had  reported  AFL 
atrocities  from  the  start  of  the  civil  war.   As  the  war 
continued,  even  the  government-owned  electronic  media  began  to 
provide  fuller  coverage,  and  several  independent  newspapers 
called  for  Doe's  resignation.   Although  there  were  no  direct 
reprisals  against  these  newspapers,  the  government  called 
meetings  with  the  relevant  editors,  issued  threats  and 
warnings,  and  otherwise  tried  to  intimidate  the  press.   In 
March  President  Doe  declared  that  The  Sun  Times  and  Footprints 
Today,  two  newspapers  he  had  banned  in  1988,  could  begin 
publishing  again.   They  never  did.   In  June  the  government 
lifted  the  ban  imposed  on  the  newsletter  of  the  Liberia  Action 
Party,  but  it  did  not  resume  operations. 

Indeed,  by  the  third  quarter  of  the  year,  no  one  was 
publishing  anything  in  Liberia  except  for  the  occasional 
propaganda  leaflet.   There  were  no  newspapers  or  television 
stations,  and  the  only  functioning  radio  stations  were 
broadcasting  foreign  news  and  propaganda  on  behalf  of  the 
NPFL.   In  November,  when  the  security  situation  had  improved 
in  Monrovia,  a  new  newspaper.  Torchlight,  and  a  radio  station, 
ELBC  Monrovia,  began  operations.   A  second  newspaper.  The  New 
Times,  appeared  in  December. 

Although  domestic  journalism  ceased  to  function,  from  the 
beginning  of  the  conflict  foreign  reporters  arrived  in  Liberia 
to  cover  the  war.   They  were  generally  treated  well  by  both 
sides,  allowed  to  enter  and  leave  the  country  without  undue 
interference,  and  even  given  guided  tours  of  "liberated 
Liberia"  by  the  NPFL.   However,  the  NPFL  did  beat  an  American 
journalist  held  by  them  briefly  and  subjected  him  to  a  mock 
execution.   The  NPFL  reportedly  still  has  two  Nigerian 
journalists  under  detention.   Reportedly,  dissemination  of 
news  is  tightly  controlled  within  NPFL  territory. 


198 


LIBERIA 

b.  Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

Before  1990,  the  constitutional  guarantees  of  freedom  of 
assembly  were  honored  more  often  in  urban  areas  than  in 
rural.   In  Monrovia,  several  political  parties  were  active, 
although  none  organized  large  gatherings  in  1990.   In  rural 
areas,  although  at  least  one  party  did  undertake  some 
organizing  work,  partisans  were  subject  to  a  greater  degree  of 
harassment  and  interference  from  local  authorities.   Within 
the  first  weeks  of  the  incursion,  government  troops  tried  to 
arrest  one  rural  organizer  for  the  opposition  United  People's 
Party  (UPP) ,  possibly  because  of  his  role  in  opposition 
activities  in  Nimba  county. 

As  the  fighting  in  Nimba  dragged  on  and  began  to  spread  to 
other  areas,  efforts  began  in  Monrovia  to  organize  peace 
groups.   Several  groups,  particularly  the  Interfaith  Mediation 
Committee,  held  organizational  meetings  declaring  their 
interest  in  a  peaceful  solution  to  the  conflict  and  ultimately 
calling  for  Doe's  resignation.   Several  public  marches  and 
rallies  were  held  by  such  groups,  with  major  human  rights, 
legal,  journalists,  and  teachers'  associations  participating. 
While  most  were  peaceful,  government  forces  fired  on  the  last 
such  march  in  late  June,  possibly  killing  several  persons,  and 
beat  protesters  suspected  of  calling  for  Doe's  resignation. 
As  the  fighting  grew  closer  to  the  capital,  peace  groups,  like 
all  other  organized  activity,  drew  to  a  halt.   In  an 
unsuccessful  bid  to  appease  critics  calling  for  his 
resignation.  Doe  lifted  the  ban  on  two  political  parties  and 
lifted  restrictions  on  the  student  union  and  business  caucus 
in  June.   In  December  ECOMOG  banned  demonstrations  and 
nonreligious  public  gatherings  when  the  INPFL  planned  a  march 
protesting  allegations  of  ECOMOG  brutality,  but  the  ban  was 
not  rigidly  enforced.   The  Press  Union  of  Liberia  resumed 
meeting  in  Monrovia  during  the  last  quarter  of  the  year. 

c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

The  1985  Constitution  states  that  freedom  of  religion  is  a 
fundamental  right  of  all  Liberian  citizens,  and  in  practice 
there  are  no  restrictions  on  this  right.   No  religion  has 
preference  over  others,  and  there  is  no  established  state 
religion.   Christianity,  brought  by  19th-century  settlers  and 
spread  through  the  interior  by  missionaries,  has  long  been  the 
religion  of  the  political  and  economic  elite,  and  public 
figures  often  refer  to  the  "Christian  principles"  on  which 
Liberia  was  founded.   The  majority  of  the  rural  population 
follow  traditional  religions.   Although  Mandingos,  who  are 
predominantly  Muslim,  have  been  targeted  by  rebel  forces, 
other  Liberian  Muslims  have  not  received  the  same  treatment. 

d.  Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

The  Constitution  provides  every  person  the  right  to  move 
freely  throughout  Liberia  and  to  leave  or  enter  the  country  at 
any  time.   Hundreds  of  thousands  of  Liber ians  have  done  so, 
beginning  in  early  January  when  reports  of  AFL  massacres  began 
to  circulate  in  Nimba  county.   The  Gio  and  Mano  residents  of 
Nimba  fled  the  fighting  by  crossing  the  borders  to  Guinea  and 
Cote  d'lvoire  by  the  tens  of  thousands,  often  by  simply 
walking  across  unguarded  borders.   Others  walked  to  Sierra 
Leone,  and,  as  the  NPFL  entered  Grand  Gedeh  county,  most  of 
the  Krahn  fled  to  Cote  d'lvoire. 


199 


LIBERIA 

Within  Liberia,  the  checkpoints  which  hampered  internal 
movement  for  years  were  dramatically  increased  once  the 
fighting  began,  and  many  of  the  AFL  and  NPFL  checkpoints 
became  scenes  of  harassment,  robbery,  and  killings.   The  Ganta 
checkpoint,  on  the  road  from  Nimba  county  to  Monrovia,  was 
reported  to  be  the  scene  of  dozens  of  killings  in  January,  and 
when  the  fighting  reached  Monrovia  there  were  checkpoints 
every  few  blocks.   The  NPFL  set  up  checkpoints  in  areas  it 
controlled  and  harassed  civilians  fleeing  the  country, 
particularly  on  the  main  road  from  Monrovia  to  Sierra  Leone. 
On  that  route,  at  the  checkpoint  at  Gbah,  harassment  and 
killings  were  especially  common.   The  INPFL  also  established 
checkpoints  in  areas  of  Monrovia  it  controlled,  at  which 
government  workers,  and  occasionally  Krahn,  were  identified 
and  sometimes  killed.   Despite  these  restrictions,  there  has 
been  massive  internal  displacement  within  Liberia;  one  U.S. 
Government  estimate  put  the  number  at  600,000  Liberians 
displaced  within  the  country,  in  addition  to  the  750,000 
refugees  outside  the  borders,  by  the  end  of  the  year.   This 
amounts  to  around  50  percent  of  Liberia's  prewar  population. 

Section  3  Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

Despite  constitutional  and  legal  guarantees  of  free  and  fair 
elections,  the  ability  of  Liberians  to  exercise  their  right  to 
change  the  government  was  put  in  serious  doubt  by  the 
fraudulent  1985  elections  that  kept  the  Doe  government  in 
office.   The  Liber ian  government  as  it  existed  in  January  was 
in  theory  modeled  on  the  American  system  and  included  a 
bicameral  legislature,  an  independent  judiciary,  and  a 
two-term  limitation  on  presidential  service.   In  practice,  the 
President  held  a  preponderant  share  of  the  power.   Once  the 
fighting  began.  Doe  virtually  ignored  the  other,  mostly 
moribund,  branches  of  government,  although  the  legislative 
branch,  largely  a  rubber  stamp  throughout  Doe's  tenure, 
rejected  the  President's  June  call  for  early  elections  and 
urged  negotiations  with  the  rebels.   Some  members  of  the 
legislature  did  call  for  Doe's  resignation  and  voiced  their 
concern  about  the  widespread  abuses  perpetrated  by  the  AFL. 

Charles  Taylor  claims  to  be  President  of  Liberia  and  reports 
he  has  held  "traditional"  (head  count)  elections  for  seats  in 
a  national  assembly,  but  his  claim  to  the  executive  rests  on 
his  military  victories. 

In  August  a  group  of  exiled  Liberian  political,  social,  and 
religious  leaders  meeting  in  Banjul  formed  an  Interim 
Government  of  National  Unity  (IGNU),  headed  by  political 
scientist  and  opposition  leader  Amos  Sawyer.   The  IGNU  arrived 
in  Monrovia  in  mid-November,  after  ECOMOG  and  INPFL  forces  had 
pushed  NPFL  forces  away  from  the  capital  city.   At  the  Banjul 
meeting  in  December,  agreement  was  reached  that  an  all-party 
conference  would  be  held  in  Monrovia  by  mid-February  1991  that 
would  choose  a  new  interim  government  which  would  hold  office 
until  general  elections  could  be  held. 

Section  4   Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

Despite  the  overwhelming  evidence  of  military  atrocities  on 
all  sides  of  the  fighting,  both  the  government  and  the  rebel 
groups  insisted  that  civilians  were  not  being  targeted. 
Government  officials  dismissed  early  reports  of  killings  by 


200 


LIBERIA 

the  AFL,  claiming  that  those  reports  concerned  civilians 
caught  in  the  crossfire  between  government  troops  and  rebels. 
When  it  became  clear  that  unarmed  civilians  were  being  shot 
outside  of  combat,  they  complained  that  it  was  difficult  to 
differentiate  between  rebels  and  civilians.   Similarly,  the 
NPFL  denied  for  months  that  there  was  any  systematic  killing 
of  Krahn  and  Mandingo  civilians  by  its  troops,  attempting  to 
brush  off  reports  by  attributing  incidents  to  occasional 
indiscipline.   Prince  Johnson,  who  has  personally  executed 
individuals  in  front  of  witnesses  without  any  pretense  of  a 
trial,  also  denied  reports  of  atrocities.   He  murdered  one 
local  relief  worker  on  the  spot  for  selling  rice  even  though 
he  had  earlier  approved  the  scheme  for  charging  nominal  prices 
for  such  relief  food. 

Aside  from  these  almost  pro  forma  denials,  neither  the 
government  nor  the  rebels  seemed  particularly  concerned  about 
whether  their  abuses  became  known.   The  AFL,  INPFL,  and  NPFL 
allowed  journalists  and  human  rights  activists  relatively  easy 
access  to  areas  near  the  fighting.   Some  journalists  returned 
with  videotapes  of  opposing  troops  and  civilians  being  beaten 
and  threatened,  and  Prince  Johnson  deliberately  made  a 
videotape  of  the  torture  of  President  Doe,  which  he  then 
released  to  the  media.   In  December  Prince  Johnson  invited 
Amnesty  International  to  visit  Monrovia  and  investigate  the 
alleged  killing  of  400  of  his  INPFL  troops  by  ECOMOG.   The 
ECOMOG  commander  welcomed  the  visit. 

Section  5  Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

During  the  Doe  regime,  the  perception  of  domination  by,  and 
government  favoritism  toward,  Krahns  grew  and  gave  rise  to 
ethnic  tensions  that  had  been  either  nonexistent  or  at  least 
dormant.   Thus,  from  the  beginning  of  the  insurgency  the 
country  fractured  along  ethnic  lines.   Until  the  fighting 
moved  out  of  Nimba  county,  it  was  almost  entirely  a  tribally 
based  affair.   The  Krahn-dominated  AFL  was  intent  on 
suppressing  the  Gio  and  Mano  tribes,  which  in  turn  saw  their 
chance  at  revenge  on  the  Krahn  and  the  Mandingo.   Even  after 
the  war  widened  in  scope  to  engulf  all  of  Liberia,  rebels 
continued  to  single  out  Krahn  and  Mandingo  for  retribution, 
while  the  AFL  focused  its  depredations  in  Monrovia  primarily 
but  not  exclusively  on  Gio  and  Mano  residents  there. 
Americo-Liberians  were  also  singled  out  for  harsh  treatment. 

The  Constitution  provides  that  only  "persons  of  Negro  descent" 
may  be  citizens  or  own  land,  denying  full  rights  to  many 
nonblack  residents  who  have  lived  their  lives  there. 

The  status  of  women  in  Liberian  society  varies  by  region,  with 
women  holding  some  skilled  jobs  in  Monrovia,  including 
cabinet-level  positions,  in  the  past.   Even  prior  to  the  war, 
however,  there  was  some  discrimination  against  women  in 
education  and  employment.   In  some  rural  areas,  in  particular, 
traditional  attitudes  hold  sway,  e.g.,  that  women  are  the 
property  of  their  husband. 

In  the  massive  violence  against  civilians,  women  have  suffered 
the  gamut  of  abuse,  especially  rape.   Even  prior  to  the  war, 
domestic  violence  against  women  was  probably  extensive  but  was 
never  seriously  addressed  by  the  government  or  womens '  groups 
as  an  issue.   Female  circumcision  is  widely  practiced  in  rural 
areas  and  in  1990  was  debated  openly  and  extensively  in  the 


201 


LIBERIA 

Monrovia  press.   There  are  no  statistics  on  domestic  violence 
against  women,  but  it  is  considered  to  be  fairly  common. 

Section  6  Worker  Rights 

a.  The  Right  of  Association 

Like  virtually  all  other  organized  activity  in  Liberia,  unions 
had  disappeared  by  July,  with  industries  shut  down  and  their 
workers  scattered.   Worker  rights,  along  with  other  rights, 
were  essentially  ignored  in  the  chaos  that  enveloped  Liberia 
as  the  year  progressed.   The  following  paragraphs  reflect  the 
situation  prior  to  the  disintegration. 

The  Constitution  states  that  workers  have  the  right  to 
associate  in  trade  unions.   Over  20  trade  unions  were 
registered  with  the  Ministry  of  Labor,  representing  roughly  15 
percent  of  the  monetary  sector  work  force.   Ten  national 
unions  were  members  of  the  Liberian  Federation  of  Labor  Unions 
(LFLU),  an  affiliate  of  the  International  Confederation  of 
Free  Trade  Unions.   The  Government  did  not  recognize  the  right 
of  civil  servants  or  employees  of  public  corporations  to 
unionize  or  strike. 

On  April  27,  the  U.S.  Trade  Representative  announced  that 
Liberia's  status  as  a  beneficiary  of  trade  preferences  under 
the  Generalized  System  of  Preferences  program  had  been 
suspended  as  a  result  of  Liberia's  failure  to  take  steps  to 
provide  internationally  recognized  worker  rights.   The 
suspension  remains  in  effect. 

b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

With  the  important  exception  of  civil  servants  and  employees 
of  public  corporations,  workers  had  the  right  to  organize  and 
bargain  collectively.   Labor  laws  had  the  same  force  in 
Liberia's  one  export  processing  zone  as  in  the  rest  of  the 
country. 

The  1990  report  of  the  Committee  of  Experts  (COE)  of  the 
International  Labor  Organization  (ILO)  reiterated  that 
Liberian  labor  legislation  fails  to  provide  workers  adequate 
protection  against  discrimination  and  reprisals  for  union 
activity,  fails  to  protect  workers'  organizations  against 
outside  interference,  and  does  not  give  eligible  workers  in 
the  public  sector  the  opportunity  to  bargain  collectively. 
The  COE  noted  that  these  deficiencies  violate  the  provisions 
of  ILO  Convention  98  on  the  right  to  organize  and  collective 
bargaining  which  Liberia  has  ratified. 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

The  Constitution  prohibits  forced  labor,  and  the  practice  was 
firmly  condemned  by  the  Doe  government.   Liberia  has  also 
ratified  both  ILO  force  labor  Conventions.   However,  serious 
questions  have  been  raised  by  the  ILO  and  others  about  the 
degree  of  enforcement  of  that  prohibition,  especially  on  rural 
community  development  projects. 

The  COE  report  cited  above  urged  the  Government  to  bring  its 
law  and  practice  into  conformity  with  ILO  Convention  29  on 
forced  labor  by  adopting  legislation  providing  penal  sanctions 
for  illegal  use  of  forced  labor  and  improving  the  inspection 
program  for  enforcing  the  prohibition  of  forced  labor.   The 
COE  repeated  its  earlier  criticism  of  a  law  providing  prison 


202 


LIBERIA 

sentences,  with  an  obligation  to  work,  for  certain  proscribed 
criticism  of  the  Government;  such  sentences  are  in  violation 
of  ILO  Convention  105  on  the  abolition  of  forced  labor. 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  the  Employment  of  Children 

The  government  prohibited  employment  of  children  under  age  16 
during  school  hours.   Again,  such  employment  is  a  moot  point, 
although  it  should  be  noted  that  many  rebel  soldiers  are 
reported  to  be  very  young,  with  some  less  than  12  years  of  age. 

e.  Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

The  labor  law  of  Liberia  provides  for  a  minimum  wage,  paid 
leave,  severance  benefits,  and  safety  standards.   Before  the 
economy  collapsed,  the  minimum  wage  for  agricultural  workers 
was  approximately  90  cents  per  day,  with  industrial  workers 
receiving  three  to  four  times  that  amount.   These  wages  did 
not  provide  a  decent  standards  of  living  but  were  generally 
supplemented  by  other  sources  of  income.   As  there  was  little 
or  no  economic  activity  in  Liberia  at  the  end  of  1990,  these 
regulations  had  little  meaning. 


203 


MADAGASCAR 


The  Democratic  Republic  of  Madagascar  is  governed  by  President 
Didier  Ratsiraka,  who  has  been  in  power  since  1975,  and  the 
National  Popular  Assembly.   The  President  and  Assembly 
deputies  are  elected  by  universal  direct  suffrage  for  7-  and 
5-year  terms  respectively.   The  President  selects  the  members 
of  the  Supreme  Revolutionary  Council  (SRC),  which  is  the 
executive  branch's  policymaking  body.    He  won  reelection  in 
1989  with  63  percent  of  the  vote,  and  his  position  is  further 
enhanced  by  the  influence  of  his  political  party,  the  Vanguard 
of  the  Malagasy  Revolution  (AREMA) ,  which  controls  the 
National  Assembly. 

In  January  the  SRC  promulgated,  and  in  July  the  National 
Assembly  passed.  Ordinance  90-001  which  permitted  the  creation 
of  political  parties  outside  of  the  now  defunct  National  Front 
for  the  Defense  of  the  Revolution  (NFDR) ,  which  formerly 
grouped  several  parties,  with  widely  varying  political 
platforms,  under  a  common  umbrella  of  socialism.   Faced  with  a 
growing  and  increasingly  outspoken  opposition,  the  NFDR  was 
reorganized  into  the  Militant  Front  for  Malagasy  Socialism 
(MFMS)  on  July  21,  1990.   By  the  end  of  the  year,  30  political 
parties  were  registered  in  Madagascar,  including  16  opposed  to 
the  MFMS.   The  major  parties  in  the  opposition  call  for  the 
creation  of  Western-style  democracy,  further  economic 
liberalization,  and  reform  of  the  Constitution  to  remove  all 
references  to  socialism. 

The  gendarmerie  (rural  police)  and  the  national  police  (urban 
police)  are  responsible  for  internal  security.   The  President 
has  under  his  direct  control  the  Directorate  General  of 
Documentation  and  Economic  Investigations  (DGIDIE) ,  or 
security  service.   The  DGIDIE  and  the  police  have  reportedly 
employed  physical  mistreatment  of  detainees,  particularly 
during  interrogation. 

Agriculture  dominates  the  Malagasy  economy.   About  85  percent 
of  the  population  is  employed  in  the  agriculture  sector  which 
in  turn  provides  about  80  percent  of  the  country's  export 
earnings.   In  1990,  to  encourage  both  greater  domestic  and 
foreign  investment,  the  Government  enacted  a  new  investment 
code  and  an  export  processing  zone  law.   Despite  some  modest 
gains,  personal  incomes  remain  abysmally  low,  and  unemployment 
remains  high,  particularly  among  youth  (60  percent  of  the 
population  is  under  age  25) . 

In  1990  the  AREMA-dominated  Government  moved  forward  in  a 
carefully  controlled  manner  with  its  program  of  political 
reform.   It  permitted  a  reorganization  of  the  old  National 
Front  and  the  formation  of  many  new  political  parties,  but  it 
firmly  rejected  opposition  calls  to  move  up  presidential  and 
parliamentary  elections  before  1996  and  1994  respectively. 
The  independent  press  continued  to  operate  freely  and  to  be 
critical  of  the  Government.   Press  censorship,  suspended  in 
1989,  was  legally  abolished  with  passage  of  the  new 
Communications  Charter  by  the  National  Assembly  in  December. 
The  new  Charter  contains  elements  which  significantly  increase 
press  freedom,  but  other  aspects  of  the  Charter  could  place 
limitations  on  the  media,  depending  upon  their  implementation. 
The  Government  permitted  the  Christian  Council  of  Churches  to 
hold  two  national  conventions  of  what  the  Council  called  the 
"nation's  active  forces"  to  discuss  a  wide  range  of  topics, 
including  constitutional  reform.   Opposition  parties  held 
regular  public  meetings.   During  an  armed  takeover  of  the 


204 


MADAGASCAR 

national  radio  station  in  May,  some  police  without 
authorization  by  superiors  fired  on  a  stone-throwing  crowd, 
killing  6  and  injuring  44  (see  Section  l.a.).   The  authorities 
conducted  an  investigation  into  the  shootings.   There  was  no 
indication  whether  the  police  involved  were  found  guilty  and 
punished. 

RESPECT  FOR  HUMAN  RIGHTS 

Section  1  Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.  Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

There  were  no  politically  motivated  killings.   The  Government 
arrested  a  group  of  14  persons  after  an  armed  takeover  of  the 
national  television  and  radio  station  in  Antananarivo  on  May 
13.   Court  authorities  subsequently  released  four  of  these 
persons  on  bail.   The  trial  in  December  of  the  14  resulted  in 
acquittal  of  2  persons,  with  the  remainder  receiving  sentences 
ranging  from  6  to  30  months'  imprisonment.   Some  police  fired 
without  authorization  on  a  crowd  gathered  outside  the  radio 
station,  some  of  whom  had  begun  to  stone  police,  killing  6  and 
injuring  44. 

b.  Disappearance 

There  were  no  known  cases  of  politically  motivated 
disappearance. 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment 

The  DGIDIE,  police,  and  gendarmes  have  been  known  to  beat 
suspects  in  their  custody.   The  DGIDIE,  in  particular,  has  had 
a  reputation  for  ruthless  treatment  of  detainees,  frequently 
during  interrogation.   In  May  the  DGIDIE  was  reorganized  with 
the  objective  of  curbing  past  abuses,  and  a  new  director 
appointed,  a  well-respected  jurist  and  diplomat,  who  is  also 
the  head  of  Madagascar's  Human  Rights  Commission. 

Conditions  in  Malagasy  prisons  are  harsh.   The  diet  provided 
is  inadequate,  and  family  members  of  prisoners  must  augment 
daily  food  rations.   Those  prisoners  without  relatives  in  the 
prison  vicinity  sometimes  go  for  several  days  without  food. 
Prisoners  suffer  a  wide  range  of  medical  problems  that  are  not 
routinely  treated,  including  mainour ishment ,  infections, 
malaria,  and  tuberculosis.   The  prison  death  toll  rises 
significantly  during  the  winter  months.   A  number  of  children 
live  in  the  prisons  with  their  mothers.   The  Minister  of 
Justice  has  appealed  for  international  assistance  to  help 
ameliorate  these  conditions. 

d.  Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

In  a  normal  criminal  case,  the  accused  must  be  charged  or 
released  within  3  days  after  arrest.   Generally,  defendants  in 
ordinary  criminal  cases  are  charged  formally  within  the 
specified  time  frame  and,  upon  being  charged,  are  allowed  to 
obtain  an  attorney.   Counsel  is  readily  available,  and 
court-appointed  counsel  is  provided  for  indigents. 

Under  Malagasy  law,  persons  suspected  of  activity  against  the 
State  may  be  detained  incommunicado  for  15  days,  subject  to 
indefinite  extension  if  considered  necessary  by  the 


205 


MADAGASCAR 

Government.   At  the  end  of  1990,  there  were  no  persons  being 
held  under  this  provision  of  law.   Bail  may  be  requested  by 
the  accused  or  by  his  attorney  immediately  after  arrest,  or 
after  being  formally  charged,  or  during  the  appeal  process. 
Of  those  arrested  following  the  May  13  takeover  of  the  radio 
station,  four  were  released  on  bail. 

On  June  25,  President  Ratsiraka  by  executive  order  released 
two  former  gendarmerie  officers  who  had  been  imprisoned  since 
1977  and  convicted  in  1983  of  plotting  against  the  security  of 
the  State,  possession  of  unauthorized  arms,  and  other 
charges.   Immediately  following  their  release,  the  two  left 
for  France.   There  was  speculation  that  they  may  have  been 
exiled  as  part  of  the  agreement  for  their  release.   Neither 
man  has  spoken  publicly  about  the  conditions  for  his  release. 

e.  Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

The  Constitution  provides  for  an  independent  judiciary,  and  in 
practice  the  judiciary  seems  to  function  in  most  cases  without 
outside  influence  from  the  executive.   The  judiciary  has  three 
levels  of  courts:   lower  courts  for  civil  and  criminal  cases 
carrying  limited  fines  and  sentences;  a  court  of  appeals  which 
includes  a  criminal  court  for  cases  carrying  sentences  of  5 
years  or  more;  and  a  Supreme  Court.   The  judiciary  also  has  a 
number  of  special  courts  designed  to  handle  specific  kinds  of 
cases  under  the  jurisdiction  of  the  higher  courts.   A 
Constitutional  High  Court,  with  a  totally  separate  and 
autonomous  status,  may  review  the  constitutionality  of  laws, 
decrees,  and  ordinances,  and  the  legality  of  elections. 

A  Military  Court  has  jurisdiction  over  all  cases  involving 
national  security.   The  definition  of  national  security  is 
largely  a  matter  of  interpretation  by  the  authorities  but 
includes  acts  constituting  a  threat  to  the  nation  and  its 
political  leaders,  invasion  by  foreign  forces,  and  riots  that 
could  lead  to  an  overthrow  of  the  Government.   In  exceptional 
cases,  civilians  may  be  tried  in  the  Military  Court  if  they 
are  charged  with  having  broken  military  laws.   Military 
courts,  like  civilian  courts,  provide  for  an  appeal  process. 
Furthermore,  military  courts  are  presided  over  by  a  civilian 
magistrate.   The  rank  of  the  four  military  officers  comprising 
the  court  is  determined  by  the  rank  of  the  accused. 

There  were  no  political  prisoners  in  Madagascar  at  year's 
end.   Of  the  14  persons  arrested  following  the  May  13  takeover 
of  the  radio  station,  4  were  released  on  bail.   The  trial 
began  on  December  18  and  resulted  in  acquittal  for  two  of  the 
defendants,  while  the  others  received  sentences  ranging  from  6 
months'  imprisonment  for  unlawfully  occupying  a  public 
building  to  30  months'  imprisonment  for  unlawfully  occupying  a 
public  building,  possession  of  unauthorized  firearms,  and 
possession  of  a  false  national  identity  card. 

f.  Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 
Correspondence 

The  State  does  not  generally  intervene  in  the  private  aspects 
of  the  lives  of  the  people.   The  home  is  traditionally 
inviolable  under  Malagasy  law.   However,  in  December  1989, 
Article  42  of  the  Constitution  was  amended  to  permit 
authorities  to  enter  the  homes  of  persons  caught  in  a  criminal 
act  or  who  explicitly  consent  to  a  search.   In  the  course  of 
suppressing  cattle  rustlers  and  bandits,  military  authorities 
without  court  orders  have  entered  and  ransacked  some  homes. 


206 


MADAGASCAR 
Section  2  Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including: 

a.  Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

There  was  noticeable  improvement  in  these  areas  in  1990.   With 
increasing  frequency,  opposition  figures  publicly  denounced 
the  Government  and  called  for  the  revision  of  the  Charter  of 
the  Socialist  Revolution.   Viewpoints  were  openly  debated  and 
discussed  in  public  forums,  including  in  the  National  Assembly. 

While  the  new  Communications  Charter  provides  for  private 
ownership  of  radio  and  television  stations,  the  broadcast 
media  are  at  present  under  state  control  and  usually  provide 
positive  coverage  of  the  Government's  activities  while 
limiting  coverage  of  opposition  activities.   A  weekly  radio 
discussion  program  which  features  prominent  figures  has 
included  opposition  party  leaders.   The  new  Communications 
Charter  requires  government  broadcast  media  to  present  a 
variety  of  opinions. 

In  1990  there  were  seven  major  independent  dailies  in 
Antananarivo  as  well  as  eight  major  weeklies  (one  of  which  is 
government  owned) .   Additionally,  local  magazines  were 
published  periodically.   In  past  years,  the  Ministry  of 
Interior  reviewed  and  censored  the  content  of  newspapers — both 
official  and  independent — prior  to  printing.   The  President's 
suspension  of  censorship  in  February  1989  was  followed  in 
December  1990  by  passage  in  the  National  Assembly  of  a  new 
Communications  Charter  which  abolished  censorship  and  further 
strengthened  freedom  of  information.   Among  its  positive 
provisions,  the  Charter  removes  all  references  to  the 
requirement  to  respect  revolutionary  principles  of  socialism, 
allows  journalists  to  protect  sources  unless  a  court 
determines  that  national  security  is  involved,  requires  the 
government  media  to  give  coverage  to  a  variety  of  viewpoints, 
and  allows  private  radio  and  television  stations.   On  the 
other  hand,  the  Charter  contains  other  provisions — such  as 
heavy  fines  and  long  prison  sentences  for  defamation  and 
libel — which  could  place  limitations  on  the  media.   Throughout 
1990,  foreign  news  publications,  primarily  in  French,  were 
readily  available  at  major  hotels  and  bookstores. 

Academic  freedom  is  in  theory  restricted  by  a  constitutional 
prohibition,  now  largely  ignored,  of  any  public  lectures  or 
teachings  which  condemn  the  Charter  of  the  Socialist 
Revolution,   However,  for  the  first  time  since  1977,  high 
school  students  during  their  August  final  exams  were  exempted 
from  answering  questions  on  Marxism,  and  Socialist  thought. 
Marxism  is  not  in  the  syllabus  for  the  1990-91  academic  year. 

b.  Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

While  political  opposition  meetings  are  increasingly  common, 
some  restrictions  remain  on  the  right  of  assembly  and 
association.   Permits  are  required  to  hold  public  meetings  and 
can  be  denied  by  the  Government  if  officials  believe  that  the 
meeting  poses  a  threat  to  the  State  or  endangers  national 
security.   Immediately  following  the  May  13  radio  station 
takeover,  the  Government  temporarily  suspended  permits  for  all 
outdoor  functions  and  meetings,  including  political  meetings 
and  concerts  and  cultural  events. 

All  new  political  parties  are  required  to  register  with  the 
Ministry  of  Interior.   No  political  parties  were  denied 
registration  during  the  year.   The  Government  granted  permits 


207 


MADAGASCAR 

to  all  political  parties  and  religious  organizations  wishing 
to  hold  public  meetings,  including  those  known  to  be  critical 
of  the  Government.   Party  congresses  and  other  meetings  such 
as  the  "national  concert"  took  place  in  1990  (see  Section 
2.C.  )  . 

University  student  associations  meet  freely.   Large  numbers  of 
students  frequently  gathered  without  permits  during  July  and 
August  to  protest  the  Government's  program  of  university 
rehabilitation  which  included  the  removal  of  unregistered 
"students"  from  student  housing. 

c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

The  Constitution  provides  for  freedom  of  religion.   The 
Government  is  secular,  and  there  is  no  discrimination  on  the 
basis  of  religious  affiliation.   Between  40  and  50  percent  of 
the  population  adheres  to  Christian  beliefs,  with  the 
remainder  following  traditional  Malagasy  beliefs,  Islam,  and 
other  faiths.   Religious  publications  are  allowed,  and  the 
Catholic  weekly  Lakroa  has  often  been  blunt  in  its  criticism 
of  the  Government.   Missionaries  and  clergy  are  generally 
permitted  to  operate  freely. 

The  Christian  Council  of  Churches  (FFKM),  which  is  composed  of 
the  Anglican,  Catholic,  Lutheran,  and  Church  of  Jesus  Christ 
Churches,  provided  a  major  setting  for  a  nationwide  debate  on 
issues  of  national  importance.   The  first  meeting,  termed  a 
"national  concert"  meeting,  was  held  in  August,  with  a 
follow-up  session  in  December. 

d.  Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

Officially  there  is  no  restriction  on  travel  within  the 
country.   Persons  in  the  southwest  who  previously  needed 
permission  to  travel  outside  of  their  villages  during  the 
height  of  the  anticattle  rustling  campaign  may  now  travel 
freely.   For  all  Malagasy,  official  approval  must  be  obtained 
for  trips  outside  the  country.   All  residents  of  Madagascar 
(Malagasy  and  foreign)  require  exit  visas  issued  by  the 
Ministry  of  Interior,  but  these  are  seldom  denied.   Foreign 
travel  is  impeded  by  the  difficulty  of  obtaining  foreign 
currency  for  that  purpose.   The  Malagasy  franc  (FMG)  is  not 
convertible  abroad,  and  the  Government  limits  to  about  $125 
the  amount  of  hard  currency  that  can  be  obtained  annually  for 
foreign  travel.   There  is  no  refugee  population  in  Madagascar. 

Section  3   Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

In  November  the  National  Assembly  passed  Ordinance  90-017 
which  revised  the  electoral  code  to  allow  all  political 
parties  and  political  groups  to  present  candidates  in  all 
future  elections.   Coupled  with  the  passage  of  Ordinance 
90-001,  which  permitted  the  establishment  of  political  parties 
outside  of  the  now  defunct  National  Front  for  the  Defense  of 
the  Revolution,  these  changes  led  to  a  proliferation  of  new 
political  parties  in  1990.   These  ordinances,  if  fully 
implemented,  hold  the  potential  to  enhance  significantly  the 
ability  of  the  people  to  exercise  their  right  to  change  their 
government . 

Two  large  political  groupings  began  to  form  in  1990  around  the 
government-affiliated  Militant  Front  for  Malagasy  Socialism 


208 


MADAGASCAR 

(MFMS)  and  the  so-called  opposition  platform,  but  deep 
divisions  began  to  develop  among  the  parties  in  the  latter 
group.   Inasmuch  as  the  last  elections  were  held  in  1989  prior 
to  the  passage  of  Ordinance  90-001,  opposition  parties  have 
called  for  new  elections  in  advance  of  the  next  regularly 
scheduled  ones  (1994  for  the  National  Assembly  and  1996  for 
the  President) .   President  Ratsiraka,  with  the  vast  majority 
of  deputies  in  the  National  Popular  Assembly  having  been 
elected  as  AREMA  candidates,  has  successfully  resisted  those 
demands . 

In  its  May-July  session,  the  National  Popular  Assembly  began 
to  assert  itself  somewhat.   Initial  steps  were  taken  to 
introduce  legislation  beyond  items  presented  by  the  executive 
branch.   Opposition  parties  introduced  four  minor  pieces  of 
legislation,  which  were  passed,  and  voted  against  accepting 
the  Government's  report  of  its  activities.   A  large  number  of 
AREMA  party  deputies  called  for  greater  accountability  from 
the  executive  branch.   At  its  December  session,  the  debate  in 
the  National  Assembly  on  the  new  Communications  Charter  was 
lively,  with  government  spokesmen  closely  questioned  by 
opposition  and  governing  party  legislators  alike.   Amendments 
offered  by  both  groups  were  adopted  and  modified  the 
Government's  draft  legislation. 

Section  4  Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

The  Government  has  historically  not  cooperated  with  groups, 
either  externally  or  internally  based,  wishing  to  investigate 
alleged  human  rights  violations.   It  denied  visas  to  Amnesty 
International  (AI)  representatives  in  the  early  1980 's.   Human 
rights  organizations  are  considered  to  be  political  groups 
under  Malagasy  law  and  must  register  with  the  Government.   No 
independent  local  human  rights  groups  were  active  in  1990. 

The  Christian  churches  in  the  country  have  advocated  human 
rights  and  in  1989  served  as  electoral  observers.   They  did 
not,  however,  publicly  challenge  or  criticize  government  human 
rights  policies. 

Section  5  Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

Madagascar  is  inhabited  by  approximately  11  million  people. 
The  Malagasy  are  a  mix  of  Malayo-Polynesian  and  African 
origins.   The  Malagasy  are  divided  into  18  ethnocultural 
groups  based  on  regional  and  ancestral  affiliation.   While 
legal  discrimination  does  not  exist,  favoritism  based  on 
regional  origin  is  often  a  determining  factor  in  selecting 
personnel  for  positions  in  ministries  and  the  private  sector. 

A  large  Indo-Pakistani  community  has  been  in  Madagascar  since 
the  earlier  part  of  this  century.   Of  Gujurati  Muslim  origin, 
this  group  is  primarily  engaged  in  commerce.   Numbering  about 
24,000  persons,  they  have  often  felt  the  brunt  of  resentment 
from  Malagasy  during  economically  hard  times.   There  were  no 
reported  instances  of  violence  specifically  directed  towards 
this  community  in  1990.   However,  many  Malagasy  mistrust  and 
criticize  these  Indo-Pakistanis  for  holding  themselves  apart 
from  the  mainstream  of  Malagasy  life.   Few  have  integrated 
into  local  society,  preferring  to  retain  their  language, 
religion,  and  culture,  and  most  have  opted  to  retain  French 
rather  than  Malagasy  citizenship. 


209 


MADAGASCAR 

Women  have  traditionally  played  a  prominent  role  in  the 
business  and  economic  life  of  the  country,  with  many  of  them 
managing  or  owning  business  concerns  or  filling  management 
positions  in  state  industries.   Education  at  all  levels  is 
open  to  women.   However,  women  in  rural  areas  and  among  the 
urban  poor  face  a  greater  degree  of  hardship,  bearing  the 
traditional  responsibilities  of  raising  a  family  and  engaging 
in  farm  labor  or  other  subsistence  activities. 

On  July  11,  the  National  Popular  Assembly  passed  additional 
legislation  dealing  with  the  rights  of  married  women.   The  new 
law  permits  wives  an  equal  say  in  choosing  where  a  married 
couple  will  reside.   The  Malagasy  Family  Code  was  also  revised 
to  give  women  a  more  equitable  distribution  of  marital 
property  in  divorce  cases  as  well  as  in  disputes  involving  the 
custody  of  children.   In  the  case  of  the  death  of  a  husband,  a 
wife  now  inherits  one-half  of  the  joint  marital  wealth.   A 
widow  receives  a  pension;  however,  a  widower  does  not.   There 
are  no  specific  women's  rights  groups  in  Madagascar,  but 
groups  of  professional  women  and  women's  branches  of  political 
parties  continue  to  work  towards  additional  changes  in  the 
Malagasy  Family  Code. 

According  to  various  sources,  including  magistrates, 
journalists,  and  women  doctors,  violence  against  women,  such 
as  wife  beating,  is  not  widespread,  and  neither  the  Government 
nor  womens '  organizations  have  addressed  this  issue 
specifically.   The  society  frowns  on  marital  confrontation. 
Married  couples  generally  prefer  to  avoid  divorce  and,  if 
necessary,  to  live  separate  lives  under  one  roof.   In  very  few 
divorce  cases  is  there  an  allegation  of  physical  abuse  that 
could  be  construed  as  wife  beating.   In  the  rare  cases  where 
this  condition  is  detected,  police  and  legal  authorities  do 
intervene.   However,  there  is  no  law  dealing  specifically  with 
violence  against  women.   Female  circumcision  is  not  practiced 
in  Madagascar . 

Section  6  Worker  Rights 

a.   The  Right  of  Association 

The  Malagasy  have  the  right  in  law  and  in  practice  to 
establish  and  join  labor  unions.   Unions  are  required  to 
register  with  the  Government,  and  registration  is  routinely 
granted.   However,  the  labor  force  of  4 . 9  million  is  mostly 
agrarian  (85  percent),  and  unionized  labor  accounts  for  less 
than  5  percent  of  the  total .   Seven  of  the  approximately  20 
national  labor  organizations  in  existence  are  affiliated  with 
the  political  parties  that  composed  the  National  Front  for  the 
Defense  of  the  Revolution,  and  two  nonaffiliated  unions  in  the 
past  signed  a  protocol  of  agreement  with  the  dominant 
political  union  belonging  to  the  President's  party.   The 
primary  focus  of  the  unions  is  party  politics,  and  they  are 
usually  active  only  during  election  campaigns.   In  spite  of 
political  liberalization,  there  was  very  little  union 
activity,  and  no  new  unions  were  organized  in  1990.   Overall, 
labor  unions  play  an  insignificant  role  in  national  life. 

Public  servants  may  not  form  independent  trade  unions  but  may 
join  "Malagasy  Revolutionary  Organizations"  under  the 
supervision  of  the  Government.   The  Cormiittee  of  Experts  of 
the  International  Labor  Organization  (ILO)  asked  the 
Government  to  take  appropriate  measures  to  ensure  that  public 
servants  can  establish  organizations  without  prior 
authorization  or  other  restrictions.   It  also  asked  the 

36-976  0-91-8 


210 


MADAGASCAR 

Government  to  introduce  legislation  explicitly  guaranteeing 
the  trade  union  rights  of  seafarers;  no  government  action  was 
known  to  have  occurred  in  response  to  this  request. 

Workers  have  the  legal  right  to  strike,  but  strikes  are  a 
rarity  because  of  the  severe  unemployment  problem  and  the 
politicization  of  the  labor  federations.   There  are  occasional 
wildcat  strikes.   In  these,  the  Government  generally  sides 
with  m.anagement  for  the  restoration  of  order.   The  Labor  Code, 
which  covers  all  workers  except  civil  servants  and  merchant 
marine  employees,  prescribes  an  arbitration  procedure  which 
must  be  followed  in  labor/management  disputes.   Should  this 
procedure  not  lead  to  a  settlement,  workers  individually,  or 
as  represented  by  a  union,  may  in  theory  call  a  strike. 

Several  of  the  union  organizations  are  members  of  the  World 
Confederation  of  Labor  or  of  the  Communist-controlled  World 
Federation  of  Trade  Unions.   One,  the  Confederation  of 
Malagasy  Workers,  has  links  with  the  International 
Confederation  of  Free  Trade  Unions. 

b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

Union  activity  is  governed  by  the  Labor  Code  of  1975  which 
provides  for  free  unions  and  the  right  to  bargain 
collectively.   The  Labor  Code  formally  prohibits  antiunion 
discrimination  by  employers  against  union  members  and 
organizers.   It  also  states  that  collective  bargaining  may  be 
undertaken  between  management  and  labor  at  either  party's 
behest.   When  there  is  failure  to  reach  agreement,  the 
Ministry  of  Labor  convenes  a  committee  of  employment 
inspectors  who  attempt  to  resolve  the  matter.   If  this  process 
fails,  the  committee  refers  the  matter  to  the  Chairman  of  the 
First  Circuit  Court  for  final  arbitration.   As  noted  above, 
workers'  interests  are  not  represented  equally  in  this 
process.   Collective  bargaining  agreements  are  not  routinely 
negotiated.   The  minimum  wage  is  set  by  the  Government.   Other 
wages  are  negotiated  between  employers  and  employees. 

While  there  are  no  geographic  export  processing  zones  (EPZ's) 
operating  yet  in  Madagascar,  there  are  companies  operating 
under  the  1989  legislation  authorizing  the  creation  of  such 
EPZ's.   Labor  laws  are  applied  uniformly  throughout  the 
country. 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

Forced  labor  is  explicitly  prohibited  by  Article  2  of  the 
Labor  Code  and  is  not  practiced.   The  ILO  in  1990,  as  it  has 
on  previous  occasions,  again  urged  the  Government  to  amend  its 
legislation  regarding  prison  labor  and  compulsory  national 
service  to  bring  it  into  conformity  with  ILO  Convention  29  on 
forced  labor  which  Madagascar  ratified  in  1960. 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

The  Labor  Code  describes  a  child  as  any  person  under  the  age 
of  18.   The  minimum  age  for  employment  is  14,  and  the  use  of 
child  labor  is  prohibited  in  those  areas  where  there  is 
apparent  and  imminent  danger.   The  Government  enforces  these 
child  labor  laws  relatively  effectively  in  the  small  wage 
sector  through  inspectors  from  the  Ministry  of  Civil  Service, 
Labor,  and  Social  Law.   However,  in  the  large  subsistence 
agricultural  sector  many  young  children  work  with  their 
parents  on  family  farms  at  much  earlier  ages.   Similarly,  in 


211 


MADAGASCAR 

the  urban  areas  many  children  earn  a  living  as  parking 
attendants,  newspaper  vendors,  and  through  other  street 
trading. 

e.   Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

The  Labor  Code  and  its  enforcing  legislation  prescribe  the 
working  conditions  for  employees.   Malagasy  law  distinguishes 
between  agricultural  and  nonagricultural  work.   There  is  a 
44-hour  workweek  in  nonagricultural  and  service  industries. 
There  are  also  provisions  for  holiday  pay,  sick  and  maternity 
leave,  and  insurance.   There  are  several  legal  minimum  wage 
rates  in.  Madagascar  according  to  categories  of  work.   The 
ilowest  Cfor  unskilled  workers)  is  approximately  $24  per  month 
and  is  inadequate  to  ensure  a  decent  standard  of  living. 
Accordingly,  such  workers  must  supplement  their  incomes 
through  subsistence  agriculture  or  reliance  on  the  extended 
family  structure. 

The  Labor  Code  has  rules  concerning  building  safety,  machinery 
and  moving  engines,  operational  safety,  and  sanitation 
standards.   It  appears  that,  in  practice,  the  rules  and 
regulations  of  the  Code  are  generally  adhered  to  by  employers 
and  are  enforced  by  the  authorities.   Labor  inspectors  from 
the  Ministry  of  Civil  Service,  Labor,  and  Social  Law  carry  out 
regular  visits  to  industrial  work  sites.   Violations  of 
safety,  sanitary,  operational,  and  other  work  code  laws  are 
the  subject  of  reports  by  these  inspectors.   If  the  violations 
are  not  remedied  within  the  specified  time  frame,  the 
violators  are  legally  charged  and  subject  to  various 
penalties . 


212 


MALAWI 


Malawi's  political,  economic,  and  social  development  has  been 
dominated  by  Life  President  Dr.  Hastings  Kamuzu  Banda  ever 
since  he  led  it  to  independence  in  1964.   Dr.  Banda  is  also 
Life  President  of  Malawi's  sole  legal  party,  the  Malawi 
Congress  Party  (MCP) .   The  Cabinet  and  Parliament  are 
subordinate  to  the  MCP  Central  Committee.   Only  candidates 
selected  by  the  party  and  approved  by  the  President  may 
contest  parliamentary  elections.   Constitutional  amendments 
and  laws  passed  by  the  Parliament  mirror  decisions  already 
taken  by  President  Banda. 

Police  and  party  security  organs — notably  the  Security  and 
Intelligence  Service  (SIS),  the  MCP  Youth  League,  and  the 
Malawi  Young  Pioneers  (MYP) — closely  monitor  a  wide  range  of 
the  population's  activities.   The  Police  Mobile  Force  and  the 
youth  groups  committed  serious  human  rights  violations  in 
1990.   In  contrast,  the  army  has  eschewed  internal  politics 
and  is  widely  recognized  for  its  professionalism. 

Small,  densely  populated,  and  landlocked,  Malawi  possesses  few 
exploitable  natural  resources.   While  it  is  dependent  on 
agriculture  for  export  earnings  and  employment,  sound  policies 
have  produced  a  national  food  surplus  in  most  years.   Malawi's 
human  rights  performance  stands  in  sharp  contrast  to  its 
economic  achievements  and  humanitarian  handling  of  Africa's 
largest  refugee  population. 

The  Government  and  party  continued  in  1990  to  control 
political  life,  including  strict  controls  on  freedom  of  press 
and  assembly.   Its  use  of  long-term  detention  to  control 
political  opponents  and  critics  was  highlighted  in  1990  by  the 
death  in  prison  of  Gomile  Kumtuman j i ,  one  of  the  independence 
heroes,  who  had  been  kept  in  detention  for  21  years  without 
charge  or  trial.   However,  by  the  end  of  1990,  the  Government 
undertook  a  review  of  political  detentions,  and  some  detainees 
were  released  early  in  1991.   In  March  police  used  excessive 
force  in  quelling  a  public  demonstration  against  corruption, 
killing  10  to  20  people.   The  Government  clamped  a  total  media 
blackout  on  the  incident,  but  it  did  eventually  dismiss  the 
Inspector  General  of  Police  and  initiate  limited  steps  to 
upgrade  the  quality  and  training  of  police  officers. 

RESPECT  FOR  HUMAN  RIGHTS 

Section  1  Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.   Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

There  were  no  political  killings  in  1990.   However,  on  March 
18,  in  Lilongwe,  the  paramilitary  Police  Mobile  Force  fired 
automatic  rifles  into  a  crowd  protesting  alleged  police 
corruption.   Government  secrecy  prevented  precise  information 
on  the  events,  but  credible  reports  indicate  the  police  killed 
between  10  and  20  persons.   The  crowd  was  protesting  the 
killing  of  a  driver  by  a  local  businessman  who  had  a  history 
of  bribing  police  to  ignore  his  mistreatment  of  his 
employees.   The  businessman  was  taken  into  protective  custody 
and  released  once  the  public  furor  subsided.   The  Inspector 
General  of  Police  was  fired  the  following  month. 
International  human  rights  groups,  including  a  report  by  the 
organization,  Africa  Watch,  sharply  criticized  the  excessive 
use  of  force  by  the  police  and  the  Government's  handling  of 
the  incident. 


213 


MALAWI 

In  the  murder  case  of  Mkwapatira  Mhango,  public  relations 
secretary  of  the  Malawi  Freedom  Movement  (MAFREMO) ,  who  lost 
his  life  along  with  most  of  his  family  when  his  home  in  Lusaka 
was  firebombed  on  October  13,  1989,  two  Zambians  and  two 
Malawians  (one  of  whom  subsequently  died  in  jail)  were 
arrested  in  Lusaka  as  culpable  agents  of  Malawi's  security 
establishment.   The  Zambian  High  Court  dismissed  their 
applications  for  habeas  corpus  on  February  6,  and  no  further 
action  was  taken  during  the  year. 

b.  Disappearance 

There  were  no  reported  cases  of  permanent  disappearance  for 
political  reasons  in  1990.   There  are  frequently  cases  of 
temporarily  missing  persons  as  the  Government  almost  never 
publishes  the  names  of  detainees  and  uses  incommunicado 
detention  in  some  instances,  especially  in  political  cases. 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment 

Allegations  of  institutionalized  torture  persist,  but  have  not 
been  proven.  Beatings  during  arrest  and  detention  are  illegal 
but  common.   Guilty  officers  are  rarely  disciplined. 

Fred  Sikwese,  a  Ministry  of  External  Affairs  official  who  died 
in  March  1989  after  being  detained  for  espionage  the  previous 
month,  probably  died  from  internal  injuries  received  while 
being  beaten  by  his  interrogators.   The  Government  denied  that 
torture  had  occurred,  but  it  ignored  the  appeal  of  Amnesty 
International  (AI)  for  an  impartial  investigation.   Frackson 
Zgambo,  an  airport  official  who  was  detained  with  Sikwese,  and 
who  remains  in  detention  without  charge,  told  Malawian 
journalists  who  were  allowed  to  visit  him  in  November  1989 
that  allegations  of  his  torture  were  unfounded,  but  his 
ability  to  be  candid  while  still  in  detention  is  questionable. 

Prison  terms  and  conditions  are  harsh  and  frequently 
degrading,  particularly  in  Nyachikadza  Prison  on  the  Shire 
River  marshes  in  southern  Malawi,  where  malaria  is  also  a 
constant  danger.   Women  appear  to  be  particularly  ill-treated, 
including  at  the  country's  main  prison  in  Zomba .   Reports 
persist  that  many  become  pregnant  by  their  warders  and  that 
their  babies  are  severely  malnourished  due  to  their  mothers' 
poor  diet. 

Prison  visits  by  responsible  officials  in  1989  appear  to  have 
curbed  some  of  the  worst  abuses;  in  1990  prisons  were 
providing  better  diets,  access  to  reading  materials,  family 
visits  and  less  physical  abuse. 

Malawi's  most  celebrated  prisoners,  Orton  and  Vera  Chirwa, 
remained  in  Zomba  Central  Prison.   Orton  Chirwa,  colonial 
Nyasaland's  first  African  lawyer  and  Malawi's  first  Minister 
of  Justice,  is  now  72  years  old  and  is  believed  to  be  in  poor 
health.   Vera  Chirwa  shares  a  cellblock  with  Margaret  Marango 
Banda,  a  prominent  Anglican  women's  lay  leader  (and  Aleke 
Banda ' s  cousin — see  Section  l.d.)  who  was  detained  in  the 
summer  of  1988  upon  her  return  from  a  church  conference  in 
England,  where  she  allegedly  met  with  dissident  Malawians. 
Ms.  Chirwa  and  Ms.  Banda  exercise  outdoors  together,  but  the 
terms  of  their  solitary  confinement  prohibit  them  from 
speaking  with  one  another.   They  are  denied  access  to  visiting 
clergy  which  minister  to  the  prison's  other  inmates.   Their 
diet  is  insufficient,  and  the  fact  that  they  send  their  milk 


214 


MALAWI 

rations  to  imprisoned  mothers  with  small  children  further 

reduces  their  caloric  intake.   Ms.  Banda,  who  apparently 

suffers  from  diabetes,  is  believed  to  be  in  poor  health  and  to 

receive  inadequate  medical  attention. 

d.   Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

Under  the  Preservation  of  Public  Security  Act,  the  Minister  of 
Justice  (a  position  held  by  President  Banda)  may  order  the 
arrest,  search,  and  detention  of  persons  considered  a  threat 
to  the  preservation  of  public  order.   The  Act  was  amended  in 
1977  to  eliminate  a  30-day  limit.   Persons  arrested  under  this 
law  can  be,  and  usually  are,  detained  without  charge  or 
trial.   The  President  is  supposed  to  review  such  cases  every  6 
months,  but  this  constitutional  safeguard  has  had  no 
observable  effect. 

For  example,  when  Malawi's  longest  serving  political  prisoner, 
Martin  Mwachipisa  Munthali,  served  out  his  10-year  sentence 
for  illegal  possession  of  firearms  in  1975,  he  was  immediately 
redetained  without  charge  and  remained  in  prison  at  the  end  of 
1990,   Kalusa  Chimombo,  another  long  term  political  prisoner 
and  a  prominent  member  of  the  Teachers  Association  before  his 
detention  in  1978,  remained  in  prison  at  year's  end.   AI 
alleges  that  Chimombo ' s  crime  was  to  forget  the  "life"  from 
Life  President  Banda ' s  title  when  offering  the  obligatory 
thanksgiving  to  the  Chief  of  State  at  a  teachers'  function. 

Police  officers  may  also  arrest  persons  on  their  own  authority 
for  up  to  28  days  before  a  formal  detention  order  is  served. 
In  fact,  persons  often  have  been  held  for  months  before  being 
served  detention  papers.   In  April,  after  the  March  shooting, 
the  appointment  of  a  new  Inspector  General  of  Police  led  to 
improved  police  performance  in  ensuring  that  nonpolitical 
detainees  were  processed  within  the  28-day  limit.   In 
addition,  to  raise  the  caliber  of  police,  the  new  Inspector 
General  instituted  a  requirement  for  a  college  diploma  for 
entry  into  the  force  and  solicited  over  200  applications  from 
the  University  of  Malawi. 

The  Malawi  Young  Pioneers  (MYP),  an  agroparamilitary  youth 
wing  of  the  MCP,  legally  has  the  same  powers  of  arrest  as  the 
police  but  has  been  prevented  by  the  police  from  exercising 
them.   The  MYP  keeps  a  small  detention  center  at  its  main 
Mountain  View  Training  Camp  near  Blantyre.   New  MYP  detentions 
are  rare. 

Detentions  that  have  occurred  or  come  to  light  in  1990 
include:   Ishmael  Mazunda,  a  senior  medical  tutor  at  a 
teaching  hospital  near  Blantyre,  who  was  detained  in  November 
1989  after  he  helped  expel  students  caught  stealing  and  using 
drugs  (their  parents  were  influential  party  members);  Lyton 
Kapenda,  a  secondary  school  teacher  in  Rumphi,  who  was 
detained  in  December  1989  after  complaining  about  government 
discrimination  against  northerners;  Dr.  Mvura,  a  retired 
veterinary  surgeon  in  Mzuzu,  who  was  detained  in  July  1990 
also  after  complaining  of  antinorthern  discrimination;  and 
Oscar  Mhango,  who  was  detained  in  Blantyre  in  August  1990 
after  asking  rhetorically  why  political  pluralism  should  not 
come  to  Malawi.   Like  most  detainees  in  Malawi,  these  persons 
were  held  incommunicado. 

Other  detainees  whose  cases  continue  to  draw  international 
attention  include:   Brown  Mpinganjira,  former  deputy  chief  of 
Information,  detained  in  1986  for  providing  information  to  a 


215 


MALAWI 

foreign  journalist;  Dr.  Goodluck  Mhango,  a  veterinary  surgeon 
with  the  MYP,  detained  in  September  1987  because  his  brother 
(murdered  in  1989)  wrote  articles  critical  of  the  Government; 
Professor  Jack  Mapanje,  head  of  the  University  of  Malawi's 
Department  of  Literature,  detained  as  well  in  September  1987 
for  planning  to  publish  a  volume  of  poetry  deemed  critical  of 
the  President;  Professor  Blaise  Machira,  who  reportedly 
suffers  from  mental  illness,  detained  in  April  1988  for 
denouncing  President  Banda;  Alfred  Chiluwe  and  Gilbert  Gwaza, 
government  statisticians  detained  in  May  1988  after  allegedly 
contacting  dissidents  while  studying  in  the  United  States;  and 
Dr.  George  Mtafu,  Malawi's  only  neurosurgeon,  detained  in 
February  1989  after  remarking  on  the  President's  mental  acuity. 

Independence  hero  Gomile  Kumtumanj i — who  had  held  more  cabinet 
and  senior  party  posts  than  any  other  official  when  he  was 
detained  in  1969 — died  in  Zomba  Prison  on  April  13,   without 
ever  having  been  charged.   When  the  prison's  commissioner 
released  the  body  to  Kumtumanj i ' s  family,  the  commissioner  and 
his  deputy  were  briefly  detained  and  subsequently  fired. 

Aleke  Banda,  once  a  confidant  and  likely  successor  to 
President  Banda  (no  relation) ,  was  quietly  released  from 
Mikuyu  prison  in  late  1988  and  is  currently  restricted  to  a 
house  on  Mpyupyu  Prison  Farm  near  Zomba.   Banda 's  terms  of 
confinement  continued  to  improve  in  1990,  and  he  is  now 
allowed  periodic  visits  from  family  members.   He  is  still 
denied  a  radio  and  reading  material.   Detained  in  1980,  Aleke 
Banda  has  never  been  charged. 

Government  secrecy  precludes  an  accurate  estimate  of  political 
detainees  in  Malawi,  but  at  the  end  of  1990  experienced 
observers  put  the  number  at  under  100  and  possibly  no  more 
than  50.   However,  as  the  Government  releases  political 
prisoners  the  same  way  it  detains  them — in  secret,  it  is 
difficult  to  confirm  reports  of  releases  of  detainees. 

While  forced  exile  has  not  been  used  as  a  means  of  political 
control,  there  is  a  small  but  constant  exodus  of  persons  who 
leave  for  political  reasons.   Many  students  and  some 
government  officials  studying  abroad  never  come  back.   In  late 
1988,  the  chairman  of  the  Malawi  National  Education  Board, 
Donton  Mkandawire,  was  dismissed  for  allegedly  packing  the 
education  system  with  fellow  northerners.   Fearing  detention, 
he  fled  to  Botswana. 

e.   Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

Malawi  has  both  traditional  and  European  court  systems.   Legal 
counsel  is  permitted  only  in  the  modern  courts.   The  right  of 
appeal  exists  in  both  systems.   Both  are  empowered  to  try 
capital  offenses,  including  treason,  but  the  modern  courts  in 
practice  hear  mostly  civil  cases.   Neither  judiciary  is 
independent.   Although  executive  interference  is  infrequent, 
the  Presidency  does  not  hesitate  to  intervene  in  cases  of 
interest  to  it,  particularly  those  of  a  political  or  security 
nature.   Last  year,  the  Prisons  Service  refused — with  no  legal 
justification — to  free  inmates  whose  release  was  ordered  by 
the  Appeals  Court. 

The  European  court  system  consists  of  the  magistrate  courts, 
the  High  Court,  and  the  Supreme  Court  of  Appeal.   The 
President  appoints  the  Chief  Justice  of  the  High  Court  and, 
after  consultation  with  the  Judicial  Service  Commission,  other 
court  justices.   Most  are  well  qualified,  but  magistrates  tend 
to  be  recent  law  school  graduates  with  limited  experience. 


216 


MALAWI 

The  courts  are  open  to  the  public,  and  defendants  are  charged 
publicly.   Crowded  dockets,  however,  can  delay  serious  cases 
from  being  heard  for  up  to  4  years.   In  criminal  cases,  the 
defendant  waits  in  prison  during  the  interval.   The  Government 
has  a  modest  legal  aid  scheme,  but  its  overworked  lawyers 
cannot  hope  to  meet  the  demands  placed  on  it. 

Most  political  cases  do  not  come  before  the  regular  courts. 
This  is  also  true  in  cases  involving  alleged  corruption  by 
government  officers.   While  many  such  officials  fired  by  the 
President  in  recent  years  may  have  transgressed  the  Civil 
Service's  strict  code  of  probity,  innocent  civil  servants  have 
suffered  as  well  without  benefit  of  a  fair  hearing.   In 
December  1989,  for  example.  President  Banda  sacked  one  of  his 
Government's  most  capable  senior  civil  servants  for  alleged 
disloyalty.   The  government-run  radio  added  subversion  to  the 
allegations  against  him,  although  this  charge  appears  to  have 
been  dropped  after  his  interrogation  by  the  SIS,  and  he  was 
released.   The  civil  servant  lost  all  pension  rights  despite 
25  years  of  dedicated  government  service. 

The  traditional  courts,  which  try  over  90  percent  of  all 
criminal  cases,  are  the  most  accessible  to  the  average 
Malawian.   Over  300  traditional  courts,  dispersed  among 
Malawi's  24  districts  and  3  regions,  hear  several  hundred 
thousand  civil  and  criminal  cases  each  year.   Traditional 
court  justices  are  appointed  directly  by  the  President, 
including  to  the  National  Traditional  Appeal  Court.   In 
practice,  they  are  drawn  from  the  ranks  of  MCP  officers  and 
exercise  their  party  responsibilities  concurrently.   Police 
officials  handle  the  prosecution,  and  defendants  conduct  their 
own  defense. 

Each  district  has  at  least  one  specially  trained  traditional 
court  officer  (TCO)  who  is  required  to  visit  each  court  at 
least  once  a  month.   The  TCO,  a  relatively  senior  civil 
servant,  may  petition  the  cominissioner  of  traditional  courts 
for  remedial  action,  to  include  acquittal  or  a  stiffer 
sentence,   Recognizing  its  dependence  on  well-qualified  TCO's, 
the  Government  began  a  special  training  course  in  late  1990  to 
upgrade  their  skills  and  also  started  a  program  to  recruit 
female  TCO' s . 

The  Executive  Branch  seldom  interferes  in  traditional  court 
cases  but  does  so  routinely  in  political  and  security  cases. 
For  example,  the  President  directed  that  the  Chirwas  be  tried 
by  a  traditional  court  in  1983,  where  few,  if  any,  procedural 
safeguards  are  available.   He  subsequently  commuted  their 
death  sentences  to  life  imprisonment.   Many  human  rights 
organizations,  including  AI ,  continue  to  call  for  the  Chirwas' 
release  and  stress  their  1983  trial  was  "grossly  unfair." 

The  Forfeiture  Act  permits  the  Government  to  revoke  the 
property  rights  of  those  suspected  of  economic  crimes  such  as 
illegal  currency  transactions.   These  revocations  sometimes 
have  political  overtones  and  have  been  heavily  weighted 
against  the  Asian  community.   When  the  Forfeiture  Act  is 
invoked,  the  person  loses  all  worldly  possessions,  including 
business,  financial,  and  personal  assets.   Revocation  of 
property  rights  is  carried  out  by  executive  fiat  with  no 
judicial  review.   The  Forfeiture  Act  has  not  been  invoked 
since  1988.   In  1990  cases  from  previous  years  were  reviewed 
and,  in  a  few  instances,  partial  restitution  was  made  for  the 
first  time. 


217 


MALAWI 

f.   Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 
Correspondence 

Police  may  enter  houses  of  suspects  at  will  under  special 
entry  authority  to  conduct  searches  for  incriminating  evidence 
or  suspects.   Telephones  are  routinely  tapped,  and  an 
extensive  network  of  informers  reports  private  statements  and 
actions  to  the  Government.   Authorities  open  some  domestic  and 
international  mail. 

Malawian  law  permits  the  Government  to  designate  certain 
districts  as  "special  areas"  where  citizens  may  be  stopped, 
questioned  and  searched  on  the  street.   Most  special  area 
districts  are  in  the  north. 

Membership  in  the  ruling  Malawi  Congress  Party  is  not  legally 
mandatory,  but  it  is  frequently  coerced.   Based  on  the  1987 
census,  over  70  percent  of  the  adult  population  holds  at  least 
nominal  party  membership.   Membership  is  expected  of  those  who 
seek  access  to  government  services  or  entrance  to  local 
markets.   The  annual  renewal  fee  is  only  about  35  cents,  but 
this  can  equal  a  day's  pay  for  a  minimum  wage  earner  in  rural 
areas.   When  the  President  visits  an  area,  financial 
contributions  from  individuals  and  businesses  are  also  levied. 

Section  2   Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including: 

a.   Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

Free  speech  is  severely  circumscribed  in  Malawi.   It  is  an 
offense,  punishable  by  5  years'  imprisonment,  to  publish 
anything  likely  "to  undermine  the  authority  of,  or  public 
confidence  in,  the  Government."   It  is  punishable  by  life 
imprisonment  to  send  out  of  the  country  "false  information" 
which  may  be  "harmful  to  the  interests  or  good  name  of 
Malawi."   In  practice,  giving  critical  information  to  foreign 
journalists  can  result  in  detention  without  trial.   Any 
discussion  of  Malawi's  political  future  or  speculation  about 
the  President's  age  is  also  prohibited.   Local  media  do  not 
submit  material  to  the  Government  beforehand  but  exercise 
careful  self-censorship.   Even  so,  journalists,  including 
senior  editors,  have  been  jailed  for  extended  periods  after 
overstepping  undefined  boundaries. 

Malawi's  two  newspapers  and  government-owned  radio  exist 
primarily  to  catalog  the  President's  words  and  deeds.   There 
was  considerable  print  coverage  on  worldwide  democratic 
developments  during  1990,  but  the  radio,  which  reaches  the 
less  literate  majority  of  Malawi's  population,  afforded  little 
coverage  of  such  trends.   Criticism  of  various  government 
departments'  efficiency  occasionally  appears  in  the  newspapers 
and  often  in  parliamentary  debate. 

Foreign  journalists  must  request  permission  to  enter  Malawi 
and  specify  in  advance  the  topics  they  intend  to  cover.   The 
Government  continues  to  permit  some  Western  journalists  to 
visit  Malawi.   Two  foreign  journalists,  who  were  based  in 
Malawi  and  had  written  articles  the  Government  considered 
critical,  could  not  get  their  visas  renewed  in  1990,  and  they 
left. 

All  publications,  posters,  recordings,  and  movies  entering 
Malawi  are  screened  and  edited  by  the  Censorship  Board.   The 
current  list  of  banned  items  includes  over  1,300  titles. 


218 


MALAWI 

Limited  academic  freedom  of  inquiry  into  the  natural  and 
social  sciences  exists  at  the  University  of  Malawi.   Its 
Center  for  Social  Research  undertakes  and  publishes  research 
on  politically  sensitive  subjects  such  as  the  extent  of 
malnutrition  in  Malawi.   There  was  no  negative  impact  on  the 
Center  after  a  criticial  N.Y.  Times  article  was  published. 
Academic  freedom,  however,  is  circumscribed.   Academics  have 
been  detained  in  the  past,  but  there  were  no  such  incidents  in 
1990.   There  is  no  government  or  political  science  faculty  at 
the  University.   President  Banda  is  nominally  the  latter 's 
Chancellor,  while  the  MCP  Treasurer  General  exerts  a  more 
direct  hand  as  Chairman  of  the  University  Council.   A  proposal 
to  create  a  private  university  was  turned  down  a  few  years  ago 
by  President  Banda. 

b.  Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

Political  meetings  are  not  permitted  outside  the  framework  of 
the  Malawi  Congress  Party.   Persons  may  be  imprisoned  if  they 
further  the  aims  of  an  "unlawful  society",  defined  as  "any 
group  considered  to  be  dangerous  to  the  good  government  of  the 
Republic."   A  gathering  of  three  or  more  persons  can  be 
construed  as  an  unlawful  assembly  under  Malawian  law. 

In  the  nonpolitical  sphere,  individuals  and  organizations 
generally  are  free  to  meet  and  associate. 

c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

There  is  no  state  or  preferred  religion,  but  religious  groups 
are  required  to  register  with  the  Government.   Jehovah's 
Witnesses,  whose  religious  convictions  prevent  them  from 
joining  the  MCP  or  any  other  political  party,  have  been  banned 
since  1967.   In  1989,  a  Jehovah's  Witness  representative 
reported  that  whole  families  were  arrested  in  the  period 
1986-88  and  were  still  in  Dzeleka  Prison.   Other  reports 
indicate  that  Witnesses  are  also  held  in  Zomba  Prison.   The 
Government  appeared  to  suspend  its  persecution  of  Witnesses  in 
1990,  but  at  year's  end  showed  signs  of  breaking  a  tacit  truce 
with  the  controversial  sect.   Following  a  critical  remark  by 
President  Banda,  Finance  Minister  and  Central  Region  Party 
Chairman  Louis  Chimango  railed  against  the  Jehovah's  Witnesses 
on  December  2  for  trying  to  persuade  people  not  to  renew  party 
memberships.   Chimango  threatened  "punitive  measures." 

In  October  17,  1989,  a  group  of  MCP  youth  leaguers,  tasked 
with  rounding  up  dancers  for  President  Banda ' s  annual  mothers' 
day  stadium  ceremony  in  Blantyre,  beat  up  a  dozen  women 
belonging  to  the  Bible  Believers,  who  protested  that  their 
sect  prohibits  dancing.   This  excessive  zeal  may  have 
contributed  to  the  dismissal  of  the  regional  party  chairman. 

Religious  groups  generally  may  establish  places  of  worship  and 
train  clergy.   Religious  publications,  like  others,  may  not 
criticize  the  Government  or  the  party.   Most  religious  groups 
are  free  to  establish  and  maintain  links  with  coreligionists 
in  other  countries,  and  members  are  free  to  travel  abroad. 

Malawi's  sizable  Muslim  minority  (estimated  at  20  percent  of 
the  population)  conducts  its  religion  and  builds  mosques 
freely.   Foreign  Islamic  organizations  have  been  allowed  to 
fund  the  latter.   President  Banda  publicly  and  repeatedly 
stresses  the  importance  of  providing  the  same  rights  and  civic 
services  to  Muslims  which  the  Christian  majority  enjoys. 


219 


MALAWI 

d.   Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

Legal  provisions  exist  for  restricting  movement  of  those 
convicted  of  political  or  criminal  offenses.   Denial  of 
passports  on  political  grounds  is  more  common  and  frequently 
extends  to  family  members  of  persons  in  political  disfavor,  as 
well  as  to  those  persons  the  Government  suspects  may  criticize 
it  if  allowed  to  travel  abroad.   Civil  servants  and  employees 
of  state-owned  enterprises  must  obtain  written  permission  to 
travel  abroad,  even  on  vacation.   Obtaining  such  a  clearance 
can  take  up  to  several  months.   Formal  emigration  is  neither 
restricted  nor  encouraged.   However,  Asian  residents  and 
citizens,  while  free  to  travel  within  the  country,  must  reside 
and  work  in  one  of  four  urban  areas  (Lilongwe,  Zomba,  Mzuzu, 
and  Blantyre/Limbe) .   In  Lilongwe,  a  planned  capital,  they 
must  also  live  within  certain  neighborhoods. 

Malawi  hosts  the  largest  refugee  population  in  Africa.   Over 
900,000  Mozambicans — more  than  10  percent  of  Malawi's 
population — are  now  located  in  rural  areas  in  11  districts. 
Some  of  the  refugees  live  in  camp-like  situations,  but  many 
live  within  or  adjacent  to  existing  villages.   In  both  cases, 
their  presence  has  increased  deforestation  and  put  -pressure  on 
scarce  arable  land.   The  strain  on  Malawi's  economy,  as  well 
as  its  transportation  and  social  services  networks,  has  been 
severe.   Although  signs  appeared  in  1990  that  Malawi's  rural 
population  has  tired  of  the  refugee  burden.  President  Banda 
still  insisted  that  Malawi  will  continue  to  offer  asylum  to 
all  who  are  forced  to  flee  Mozambique's  civil  war. 

Similarly,  President  Banda  has  emphasized  that  Malawi  will 
never  be  a  party  to  forced  repatriation,  and  government 
officials  have  maintained  that  stance  in  dealing  with  the 
Mozambican  Government  and  the  United  Nations  High  Commissioner 
for  Refugees  (UNHCR)  on  repatriation.   The  Government  has 
generously  shared  its  own  limited  resources  and  has  cooperated 
enthusiastically  with  international  relief  efforts.   The 
latter  are  coordinated  by  a  committee  chaired  by  the  Ministry 
of  Health.   The  UNHCR  and  other  international  assistance 
groups  travel  freely  to  assess  relief  needs  and  to  investigate 
allegations  of  protection  problems.   UNHCR  officals  recognize 
Malawi's  refugee  performance  as  one  of  the  best  in  the  world. 

Section  3   Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

Citizens  of  Malawi  cannot  change  their  national  government 
through  democratic  means.   Major,  and  many  minor,  political 
decisions  are  made  by  the  President  or  his  closest 
associates.   Opposition  political  parties  or  movements  are 
prohibited,  but  there  are  externally  based  political 
opposition  movements  such  as  the  Malawi  Freedom  Movement,  the 
Socialist  League  of  Malawi,  Congress  for  a  Second  Republic, 
and  the  Malawi  Democratic  Union. 

The  Malawi  Congress  Party  structure  provides  for  some  choice 
among  candidates  for  party  (every  3  years),  parliamentary 
(every  5  years),  and  other  offices — all  by  secret  ballot. 
All  nominees  for  political  seats,  however,  are  carefully 
selected  by  the  MCP  and  approved  by  the  President.   Public 
campaigning,  which  might  publicize  or  encourage  a  charismatic 
leader,  is  not  permitted.   The  National  Assembly,  consisting 
of  both  elected  and  a  few  appointed  members,  is  mainly 


220 


MALAWI 

concerned  with  ratifying  government  policy.   Its  powers  are 
broadly  based  in  law  but  highly  circumscribed  in  practice. 

Section  4  Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

Local  nongovernmental  human  rights  organizations  are  not 
permitted.   The  Malawi  Law  Society  in  recent  years  has  been 
able  to  debate  in  public  aspects  of  existing  law  but  has  not 
addressed  human  rights  issues  directly.   The  Law  Society 
represents  both  government  and  private  lawyers. 

The  Government  does  not  welcome  foreign  intercession  and  does 
not  permit  organizations  such  as  the  International  Committee 
of  the  Red  Cross  and  AI  to  visit  prisons  or  conduct  human 
rights  investigations  in  Malawi.   A  specific  request  from  AI 
to  do  so  was  turned  down  in  1990.   The  President  apparently 
took  into  account  international  appeals  in  1984  when  he 
commuted  the  death  sentences  meted  out  the  previous  year  to 
the  Chirwas,  but  he  has  since  declined  all  appeals  for 
clemency  in  their  cases.   Similarly,  in  1989,  he  rejected  high 
level  foreign  representations,  delivered  in  person,  on  behalf 
of  Margaret  Marengo  Banda,  Professor  Jack  Mapanje,  and  Dr. 
George  Mtafu.   During  most  of  1990,  there  was  no  official 
response  to  human  rights  concerns  raised  by  the  U.S. 
Ambassador  and  other  Western  envoys  with  senior  government  and 
party  officials.   However,  in  December,  the  Government 
undertook  a  review  of  political  detentions,  and  some  detainees 
were  released  in  1991. 

Section  5  Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

There  are  strong  regional  differences  between  the  north  and 
the  south.   Northerners  have  experienced  considerable 
discrimination  by  the  Government  in  the  past,  most  recently  in 
1989  when  President  Banda  lent  his  weight  to  a  campaign  which 
resulted  in  many  northerners  losing  jobs  in  the  south  and 
being  forced  to  return  to  their  region  or  into  exile  abroad. 
Most  of  the  20  to  30  prominent  northerners  arrested  in  1989 
remained  in  detention  without  charge  or  trial  at  the  end  of 
1990.   In  1990  the  Government  sought  to  downplay  regionalism 
as  a  domestic  issue,  and  some  northerners  continued  to  hold 
important  positions,  notably  within  the  Ministry  of  Justice, 
including  the  posts  of  Solicitor  General  and  Chief  Public 
Prosecutor.   They  are  currently  represented  on  the  Supreme 
Court  of  Appeals. 

Asian  residents,  whether  Malawian  citizens  or  not,  have  been 
compelled  to  transfer  ownership  of  rural  shops  and  trucking 
businesses  to  ethnic  Africans.   Strict  rules  govern  where 
Asians  may  own  property,  although  these  have  been  relaxed 
somewhat  in  practice.   Changes  in  the  citizenship  law  in  1986 
eliminated  a  provision  whereby  persons  who  held  foreign 
passports  could  reside  indefinitely  in  Malawi  and  raised  the 
possibility  that  Asian  children  born  in  Malawi  would  become 
stateless  persons  in  their  own  country.   These  developments 
have  led  many  in  the  small  but  prosperous  Asian  community  of 
about  5,000  persons  to  leave  Malawi  and  others  to  question 
their  long-term  future  there. 

In  contrast,  Malawi's  first  lady,  C.  Tamanda  Kadzamira,  went 
to  considerable  lengths  in  1989  and  1990  to  draw  Asian  women 
into  her  new  National  Women's  Development  Organization  (CCAM), 


221 


MALAWI 

and  encouraged  several  to  play  prominent  and  responsible  roles 
in  the  movement.   In  Malawi's  influential  urban  areas,  the 
CCAM  has  largely  eclipsed  the  MCP ' s  Women's  League.   Like 
other  party  organs,  the  latter  is  not  open  to  Malawians  of 
Asian  or  European  descent. 

In  Malawi  women  are  equal  under  the  law.   However,  males  have 
an  advantage  in  education,  reflecting  Malawi's  still  very 
traditional  society.   Although  tribal  leadership  structures 
remain  primarily  matrilineal,  women  do  not  have  opportunities 
equal  to  those  of  men.   Most  women  are  unable  to  complete  even 
a  primary  education  and  are  at  a  serious  disadvantage  in  the 
job  market. 

The  Government  has  initiated  broad  programs  to  reverse 
existing  discrimination  against  women.   The  Government  has 
cooperated  enthusiastically  with  international  donor  agencies 
seeking  to  enhance  educational  opportunities  for  women  at  all 
levels,  e.g.,  with  U. S . -assisted  programs  to  enable  women 
university  students  to  pursue  studies  in  nontraditional  fields 
such  as  engineering,  and  to  advance  women's  basic  education. 
In  the  secondary  school  system,  35  percent  of  the  places  have 
been  reserved  for  women. 

The  Government  is  also  slowly  giving  recognition  to  the 
importance  of  women  as  agricultural  producers,  as 
approximately  70  percent  of  all  smallholder  farms,  and  over  50 
percent  of  subsistence  holdings  are  headed  by  women.   The 
Ministry  of  Agriculture  now  has  a  separate  women's  extension 
program  specifically  designed  to  accommodate  their  needs. 
Women  enjoy  access  to  maternal  health  services  and  to 
extension  programs,  but  infant  and  child  mortality,  mainly  due 
to  malnutrition,  remain  extremely  high.   In  practice,  women 
are  often  disadvantaged  under  the  law  through  ignorance.   The 
fledgling  National  Commission  of  Women  in  Development  began  a 
project  in  late  1989  to  educate  women  on  their  legal  rights. 

There  is  no  tradition  of  violence  against  women.  President 

Banda  has  made  his  opposition  to  any  mistreatment  of  women 

very  clear.   Several  small  ethnic  groups  continue  to  practice 
female  circumcision. 

Section  6  Worker  Rights 

a.   The  Right  of  Association 

Only  nongovernment  workers  have  the  legal  right  to  associate 
and  to  form  and  join  trade  unions.   Unions  represent  10  to  20 
percent  of  Malawi's  small  wage-earning  labor  force,  and  most 
organized  wage  workers  are  unskilled  laborers  on  large 
agricultural  estates.   Unions  are  required  by  law  to  affiliate 
with  the  Trade  Union  Congress  of  Malawi  (TUCM) .   The  TUCM, 
like  both  the  Employers  Consultative  Group  and  the  Associated 
Chambers  of  Commerce,  is  a  private  organization  independent  of 
the  Malawi  Congress  Party.   In  practice,  however,  union 
activities  are  highly  circumscribed  by  the  Government. 
Restrictive  colonial  labor  legislation  has  been  subsumed  into 
Malawian  law  largely  intact. 

Malawi  law  permits  strikes,  but  these  are  extremely  rare. 
Ministry  of  Labor  officers  are  quick  to  intervene  at  the  first 
hint  of  labor  unrest.   Management-labor  councils  also  mediate 
labor  issues  at  the  workplace. 


222 


MALAWI 

Under  government  supervision,  the  TUCM  associates  with 
international  organizations  and  is  a  member  of  the 
Organization  of  African  Trade  Union  Unity,  the  Southern 
African  Trade  Union  Coordination  Council,  and  the 
International  Confederation  of  Free  Trade  Unions.   With 
government  approval,  the  TUCM  receives  practical  and  financial 
assistance  from  the  American  Federation  of  Labor  and  Congress 
of  International  Organizations  and  other  Western  labor 
organizations . 

b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

Workers  have  the  legal  right  to  organize,  but  the  law  does 
little  to  restrict  antiunion  discrimination  by  employers. 
Complaints  are  resolved  by  the  Ministry  of  Labor.   Collective 
bargaining  is  protected  by  law,  but  its  use  is  limited  by 
market  realities.   The  Government  does  not  intervene  overtly 
in  the  collective  bargaining  process.   There  are  no  export 
processing  or  free  trade  zones  in  Malawi,  although  the  concept 
is  under  study.   Labor  legislation  is  applied  uniformly 
throughout  the  country. 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

Forced  labor,  which  was  widely  practiced  during  colonial 
times,  has  never  been  formally  outlawed,  but  it  is  opposed  by 
the  Government  and  is  not  practiced. 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

The  minimum  working  age  is  14,  but  this  applies  only  to  the 
small  urban  wage  sector  where  it  is  enforced  by  labor 
inspectors  from  the  Ministry  of  Labor.   In  the  large 
subsistence  agriculture  sector,  where  most  Malawians  work, 
children  help  on  family  farms  at  a  younger  age.   Many  also 
work  on  plantations  where  they  are  paid  substantially  less 
than  the  minimum  wage. 

e.  Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

Less  than  15  percent  of  the  work  force  is  employed  in  the 
formal  wage  sector.   In  May  1989,  minimum  daily  wages  nearly 
doubled  in  Malawi's  three  cities,  to  80  cents;  wage  rates  in 
rural  areas  increased  to  65  cents  per  day.   In  practice,  wages 
for  experienced  skilled  workers  are  increasing  sharply  as  the 
supply  diminishes.   Large  numbers  of  skilled  workers  are 
finding  better  paying  jobs  in  South  Africa,  Botswana,  and 
Zimbabwe.   Workers  in  rural  areas,  however,  are  still  poorly 
paid.   Perhaps  half  receive  less  than  the  minimum  wage. 

For  those  fortunate  enough  to  hold  paying  jobs,  wages  and 
working  conditions  are  generally  adequate  to  maintain  a  decent 
standard  of  living.   Malawi's  low  wage  levels  reflect  the 
abundance  of  unskilled  labor  and  the  Government's  policy  of 
limiting  the  urban-rural  income  gap  to  stem  migration  into  the 
towns.   Wage  earners  fare  slightly  better  than  the  vast 
majority  of  the  population  which  works  in  subsistence 
agriculture.   Many  subsistence  farmers  supplement  their 
earnings  by  also  working  as  tenants  on  nearby  estates.   Labor 
laws  address  normal  employment  practices  but  do  not  cover 
tenancy  agreements,  and  abuses  are  widespread. 

Paid  holidays  and  safety  standards  in  the  workplace  are 
required  by  law.   However,  enforcement  of  safety  standards  by 
Ministry  of  Labor  inspectors  is  erratic. 


223 


MALI 


Mali  is  a  single-party  state  in  which  authority  is  exercised 
by  General  Moussa  Traore,  President  of  the  Republic  and 
Secretary  General  of  the  Democratic  Union  of  the  Malian  People 
(UDPM) ,  the  country's  only  legal  political  party  and  supreme 
political  entity.   President  Traore  assumed  power  through  a 
military  coup  in  1968.   The  military  still  maintains  a 
privileged  position,  and  some  military  men  occupy  key 
positions  within  the  Government,  although  the  Government  and 
party  are  predominantly  civilian.   Military  men  hold  3  of  the 
7  regional  governorships,  and  11  of  the  46  districts. 

The  Gendarmerie  (paramilitary  police)  and  local  police  forces 
have  primary  responsibility  for  maintaining  internal 
security.   The  military  is  used  for  internal  security  in 
extraordinary  situations;  in  1990  it  was  called  on  to  deal 
with  an  insurgency  by  dissident  Tuaregs  in  the  Gao  region. 

With  an  annual  per  capita  gross  national  product  of 
approximately  $230,  Mali  is  among  the  world's  poorest 
countries.   Mali's  economy  rests  primarily  on  subsistence 
farming  and  animal  husbandry,  making  it  highly  dependent  on 
good  rainfalls  for  its  economic  well-being.   Throughout  1990 
the  Government  continued  its  efforts  to  modernize  the  economy 
through  fiscal  reform  and  privatization  of  state  enterprises, 
but  Mali  remains  heavily  dependent  on  external  aid. 

Although  some  human  rights  restrictions  eased  in  1990,  the 
Government's  response  to  Tuareg  dissidence  in  the  north 
resulted  in  numerous  credible  reports  of  human  rights 
violations,  including  summary  executions  of  dissidents  by 
military  forces.   The  Government  did  not  allow  an  independent 
investigation  into  these  and  other  allegations  of  brutality. 
The  circumstances  surrounding  the  rebellion  were  unclear,  but 
it  coincided  with  the  repatriation  of  several  thousand 
Malians,  mainly  Tuaregs,  from  Algeria  in  1990,  and  President 
Traore  charged  Libya  with  responsibility  for  the  attacks. 
Libyan  leader  Qadhafi  acknowledged  that  Malian  Tuaregs  have 
received  military  training  in  Libya. 

While  favoring  continuation  of  the  single  party  system,  in 
1990  the  Government  permitted  a  growing  public  debate,  inside 
and  outside  the  party,  over  constitutional  reform,  including 
the  possibility  of  a  multiparty  system.   An  independent  press, 
the  new  (1989)  human  rights  organization,  the  National  Union 
of  Malian  Labor  (UNTM) ,  and  the  National  Bar  Association 
contributed  importantly  to  the  debate  on  political  pluralism. 
By  year's  end,  two  organizations  promoting  a  multiparty 
system,  the  National  Committee  for  Democratic  Initiative 
(CNID)  and  the  Alliance  for  Democracy  in  Mali  (ADEMA) ,  had 
been  formed.   The  CNID  held  peaceful  demonstrations  for 
democracy  on  December  10  and  30  without  interference  from  the 
Government . 

RESPECT  FOR  HUMAN  RIGHTS 

Section  1   Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.   Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

There  were  numerous  credible  reports  that  as  many  as  29  people 
were  summarily  executed  in  July  and  early  August  in  the  Gao 
region  when  the  Government  acted  to  restore  order  following  a 
series  of  attacks  by  Tuareg  dissidents.   In  particular. 


224 


MALI 

residents  in  that  region  claimed  to  have  witnessed  the  public 
executions  of  13  persons  in  early  August  on  the  outskirts  of 
the  city  of  Gao .   The  Government  denied  that  summary 
executions  took  place.   However,  reports  were  of  sufficient 
number  and  credibility  to  warrant  an  independent 
investigation.   The  Tuareg  insurgents  have  targeted  military 
and  Government  officials  in  their  raids  on  villages  and 
military  camps,  executing  a  number  of  them  and  some  of  their 
family  members.   According  to  government  sources,  at  least  39 
persons  were  killed  by  the  insurgents  from  the  end  of  June 
through  the  end  of  August.   There  have  been  no  further  reports 
of  such  violations  in  the  region.   By  the  end  of  1990,  the 
situation  in  the  north  was  generally  calm  but  remained 
unresolved. 

One  government  official  accused  of  spying  for  the  insurgents 
died  in  prison  2  days  after  his  arrest;  while  the  government 
radio  reported  he  had  been  poisoned,  no  further  explanation  of 
his  death  was  given. 

b.  Disappearance 

No  incidents  of  disappearance,  abduction,  or  hostage-taking 
attributable  to  the  Government  were  reported.   However,  the 
Government  has  given  out  little  information  on  captured 
Tuaregs  so  it  is  impossible  to  know  the  fate  of  many  rebels. 
Tuareg  insurgents,  according  to  reliable  sources,  abducted 
soldiers  and  government  officials  following  raids  on  military 
and  civilian  facilities.   The  current  whereabouts  of  these 
persons  are  unknown. 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment 

Although  the  Government  has  issued  specific  instructions 
prohibiting  brutality  against  persons  under  police 
investigation,  physical  abuse  of  suspected  persons  sometimes 
occurs  during  police  interrogation  or  in  police  handling  of 
demonstrations.   There  were  credible  reports  that,  in  July  and 
August,  suspected  Tuareg  dissidents  were  tortured  while 
undergoing  interrogation.   Prison  conditions  in  Mali  are  harsh 
and  characterized  by  inadequate  medical  facilities  and  food 
supplies . 

d.  Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

The  Malian  judicial  system  is  based  on  the  French  model. 
Detained  persons  do  not  have  the  right  to  a  judicial 
determination  of  the  legality  of  their  detention,  but  by  law 
arrests  cannot  be  made  without  formal  charges.   By  law, 
persons  arrested  must  be  charged  or  released  within  48  hours. 
In  political  cases,  the  authorities  do  not  always  obey  the 
law,  and  incommunicado  detention  is  sometimes  utilized. 
Malian  law  does  not  provide  for  release  on  bail,  but  detainees 
are  sometimes  released  on  their  own  recognizance. 
Administrative  backlogs  often  cause  delays  in  bringing  people 
to  trial.   Detainees  are  usually  allowed  access  to  a  lawyer  of 
their  choice.   In  fact,  lawyers  are  quite  active  in  making 
sure  that  detainees  have  representation;  many  provide  pro  bono 
service. 

A  state  of  emergency  and  curfew  were  implemented  in  the  6th 
and  7th  regions  on  July  10  in  accordance  with  the 
Constitution.   Chefs  d ' arrondissement  (roughly  analogous  to 
governors)  and  military  authorities  were  granted  wider  powers. 


225 


MALI 

including  the  power  to  control  the  press  and  communications 
and  to  intern  those  deemed  a  threat  for  up  to  2  months. 
Tuareg  dissidents  and  their  suspected  supporters  were  held 
under  these  emergency  provisions  in  these  regions;  others  were 
brought  to  Bamako  for  detention.   The  Government  gave  no 
indication  during  1990  of  the  numbers  of  Tuaregs  detained  by 
military  authorities  or  of  those  still  in  detention  at  year's 
end. 

e.  Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

A  part  of  the  executive  branch,  the  judiciary  is  not 
independent.   The  Ministry  of  Justice  appoints  judges  and 
supervises  both  law  enforcement  and  judicial  functions. 
Judges  complain  of  government  and  party  pressure,   The 
Superior  Judicial  Council,  which  supervises  judicial  activity, 
is  headed  by  the  President.   The  Supreme  Court  is  the  highest 
court,  with  both  judicial  and  administrative  powers.   The 
Supreme  Court  also  has  the  ability  to  declare  laws 
unconstitutional.   The  National  Assembly  can  convene  the  High 
Court  of  Justice  to  hear  cases  against  state  ministers,  but 
this  Court  did  not  meet  during  1990. 

Corruption  remains  a  political  issue,  and  trials  against 
corrupt  officials  continued  in  1990,  notably  in  the  Special 
Court  of  State  Security,  a  military  court.   The  Special  Court 
heard  46  cases  from  January  until  June  1990.   All  cases 
involved  allegations  of  embezzlement.   Of  the  persons  found 
guilty,  four  were  sentenced  to  life  imprisonment  and  one 
received  the  death  sentence.   In  the  Special  Court,  defendants 
usually  admit  guilt  in  the  hope  of  receiving  a  more  lenient 
sentence  and  allow  their  lawyers  to  argue  mitigating 
circumstances.   The  verdict  and  sentence  are  rendered  by  a 
panel  of  three  judges,  including  civilian  judges  and  armed 
forces  officers.   The  death  penalty  is  mandatory  under  the  law 
for  anyone  convicted  of  embezzling  more  than  $36,000. 
However,  in  most  embezzlement  trials,  restitution  by  the 
accused  can  decrease  the  severity  of  the  sentence.   Once 
convicted,  a  person  may  appeal  for  a  presidential  pardon  or 
request  a  new  trial.   The  right  to  request  a  presidential 
pardon  or  a  new  trial  exists  in  mandatory  death  penalty 
cases.   No  death  sentences  issued  by  the  Special  Court  were 
carried  out  in  1990.   As  far  as  is  known,  there  were  no 
political  prisoners  or  detainees,  other  than  the  Tuaregs,  at 
the  end  of  1990 . 

f .  Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 
Correspondence 

Inviolability  of  the  home  is  provided  for  in  the  Constitution 
and  generally  respected  in  practice.   Police  searches  are 
infrequent,  and  warrants  are  issued  and  recorded,  though 
sometimes  after  the  fact.   Local  authorities  sometimes  seize 
and  open  mail  extralegally .   Under  the  law,  private  letters 
may  be  opened  only  if  the  President  declares  the  country  is 
facing  political  crisis.   In  such  cases,  the  only  organization 
that  may  legally  open  personal  mail  is  a  special  intelligence 
service  responsible  to  the  Presidency.   The  state  of  emergency 
declared  in  the  north  specifically  permits  inspection  of 
mail.   In  fact,  mail  not  covered  by  such  crises  is  also 
opened. 

Party  membership  is  a  prerequisite  for  holding  a  senior 
government  position  but  not  for  holding  most  civil  service 
jobs.   All  citizens  are  encouraged  (but  not  required)  to  join 


226 


MALI 

for  a  nominal  fee.   Membership  has  reportedly  been  falling  off 
among  young  people. 

g.   Use  of  Excessive  Force  and  Violations  of  Humanitarian 
Law  in  Internal  Conflicts 

There  were  credible  allegations  of  brutal  treatment  of 
civilians  by  both  the  Malian  military  and  Tuareg  insurgents  in 
the  Gao  region  during  the  summer  of  1990.   One  group  of  Tuareg 
villagers  at  Djebock,  near  Gao,  was  reported  to  have  been 
saved  from  execution  by  the  military  when  the  Bambara  governor 
intervened.   According  to  one  fragmentary  report,  the  military 
forced  another  family  group  to  stand  in  a  ditch  and  then 
tossed  in  a  grenade,  killing  many.   At  the  same  time,  there 
were  reliable  reports  of  torture  and  mutilation  of  bodies  by 
the  Tuareg  insurgents.   The  number  of  dead  in  the  conflict  is 
uncertain,  but  data  published  in  mid-September  by  independent 
sources  set  the  figures  at  several  hundred  on  each  side, 
including  civilians. 

Section  2  Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including: 

a.   Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

The  Constitution  does  not  expressly  provide  for  freedom  of 
speech  and  press.   Questioning  of  government  authority  outside 
party  deliberations  has  been  rare  in  the  past,  but  in  1990 
Malians  began  publicly  criticizing  the  country's  one-party 
system.   During  party  meetings  in  March  commemorating  the 
anniversary  of  Mali's  ruling  party,  most  speakers 
participating  in  a  "democracy  within  the  party"  debate  openly 
criticized  the  single-party  system,  advocated  a  multiparty 
approach,  and  denied  that  political  pluralism  would  degenerate 
into  tribalism  in  Mali.   According  to  the  independent  press, 
this  debate  grew  more  heated  and  divisive  during  an 
extraordinary  meeting  of  the  National  Council  held  in  August. 
President  Moussa  Traore  presided  as  party  dignitaries  argued 
bitterly  over  multiparty  system  and  democracy  within  the  party. 

The  Government  controls  Malian  radio  and  television  and 
publishes  a  daily  newspaper,  all  of  which  reflect  official 
positions.   While  the  Constitution  is  silent,  the  law  (most 
recently  that  enacted  in  1988)  permits  freedom  of  the  press, 
and  the  Government  has  allowed  a  number  of  independent 
journals  to  open  since  1989.   These  include  the  French 
language  Les  Echos,  La  Roue,  Aurore,  Saniya,  and  Danbe,  the 
journal  of  the  National  Committee  for  Democratic  Initiative. 

The  independent  publications  have  played  an  active  role  in 
opening  the  debate  on  a  multiparty  system,  publishing  accounts 
of  events  that  differed  significantly  from  those  of  official 
organs,  and  providing  critical  commentary  on  actions  and 
positions  taken  by  the  Government.   Les  Echos  published  an 
open  letter  from  a  group  of  private  citizens  to  the  President 
urging  political  reform.   L'Aurore  reprinted  a  declaration  by 
the  National  Union  of  Malian  Workers  calling  for  a  multiparty 
system,  the  first  public  statement  in  support  of 
democratization.   The  independent  press  also  reported  on  the 
Tuareg  insurgency,  with  one  publication  criticizing  the 
Government  for  its  lack  of  openness  about  the  situation  in 
Gao,  but  supporting  the  Government's  view  that  the  insurgency 
was  sparked  by  an  external  attack.   These  newspapers  are 
distributed  widely  in  Bamako  as  well  as  in  regional  centers. 
International  publications,  including  those  having  articles 
critical  of  Mali  and  its  Government,  are  available. 


227 


MALI 

The  Government  occasionally  cracked  down  on  the  press  in 
1990.   In  March  the  editor  of  Mali's  most  critical 
publication,  La  Roue,  was  detained  for  48  hours  and  questioned 
by  local  police  but  was  never  formally  charged.   Independent 
journalists  were  forcibly  removed  from  the  National  Council's 
June  session,  and  two  were  briefly  detained  by  police,  but 
representatives  of  the  Government  were  permitted  to  remain  due 
to  their  status  as  employees  of  the  UDPM.   Government 
authorities  generally  seize  political  tracts  printed  by 
organizations  not  formally  recognized  by  the  Government,  but 
there  were  no  known  arrests  of  pamphleteers.   A  Malian 
employed  by  the  French  Communist  newspaper  L'Humanite  was 
arrested  in  July  for  alleged  possession  of  seditious  material 
pertaining  to  the  death  of  Mali's  first  president,  Modibo 
Keita.   The  charges  were  dropped  and  the  journalist  released 
after  5  days  in  detention,  and  no  other  punitive  action  was 
taken  against  the  journalist. 

There  is  no  legal  restraint  on  academic  freedom,  but  self- 
censorship  is  the  rule.   Lack  of  materials  and  timidity  on  the 
part  of  civil  service  teachers  fearful  of  transfer  to  distant 
villages  inhibit  free  debate  in  the  classroom.   In  late  1988, 
students  who  protested  government  policies  were  jailed.   All 
were  subsequently  released,  in  part  through  the  reporting 
efforts  of  Les  Echos . 

b.   Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

The  Constitution  provides  for  the  right  of  citizens  to  form 
organizations  to  protect  their  professional  interests,  but  in 
reality  only  selected  nonpolitical  organizations  such  as  urban 
professional  associations  qualify.   The  primary  groups  that 
assemble  freely  are  the  women's,  youth,  and  similar 
associations  of  Mali's  single  political  party.   Demonstrations 
and  marches  require  permission  from  the  central  executive 
bureau  of  the  party.   In  October  a  small,  peaceful 
demonstration  in  favor  of  democracy  was  broken  up  by  police, 
and  four  persons  were  briefly  detained.   The  Government  also 
used  tear  gas  to  control  the  most  violent  riots  in  a  decade  in 
Bamako  on  December  3.   The  riots  erupted  following  a 
government  announcement  that  unlicensed  street  vendors  would 
be  prevented  from  practicing  their  trade.   There  were  no 
casualties . 

The  Constitution  provides  for  only  one  party;  independent 
political  activists  avoid  portraying  themselves  as  part  of  an 
opposition  party.   Mali's  independent  newspapers  and  human 
rights  organizations  have  demanded  the  elimination  of  article 
five  of  the  Malian  Constitution  which  recognizes  the 
Democratic  Union  of  the  Malian  People  (UDPM)  as  Mali's  only 
legal  party  and  effectively  outlaws  other  political  parties. 
However,  two  organizations  calling  for  democracy  and  a 
multiparty  system  were  established  in  the  fall  of  1990.   The 
National  Committee  for  Democratic  Initiative  (CNID)  and  the 
Alliance  for  Democracy  in  Mali  (ADEMA) ,  led  by  prominent  human 
rights  and  student  activists,  have  been  allowed  to  form  and 
operate  unimpeded  by  the  Government.   An  independent  journal 
published  CNID's  political  manifesto  which  called  for,  among 
other  things,  a  multiparty  system  and  greater  respect  for 
human  rights.   CNID  also  criticized  the  Government  for 
postponing  further  internal  UDPM  discussion  of  political 
pluralism  until  March  1991.   On  December  10  and  30,  CNID 
sponsored  peaceful  demonstrations  for  a  multiparty  system  that 
attracted  thousands  of  people  and  that  proceeded  through  the 
streets  without  police  interference. 


228 

MALI 

c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

Mali  is  a  secular  state.   The  Government  generally  does  not 
discriminate  on  religious  grounds.   Although  90  percent  of 
Malians  are  Muslim,  other  religions  may  practice  their  faiths 
freely  and  are  permitted  to  establish  houses  of  worship  as 
well  as  schools.   Christian  missionaries  of  various  faiths 
enjoy  government  cooperation.   Proselytizing  and  conversion 
are  permitted,  except  in  the  case  of  the  Baha ' i .   The 
Government  prohibits  publications  in  which  one  religious  group 
defames  another;  the  Minister  of  Territorial  Administrations 
determines  whether  such  a  publication  is  defamatory.   However, 
this  law  is  rarely  used.   While  administrative  orders 
promulgated  in  1977  prohibiting  Baha ' i  from  meeting  in  groups 
of  more  than  three  people  remain  in  force,  these  orders  are 
not  actively  enforced  and  Baha ' i  practice  their  faith  without 
interference . 

d.  Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

Freedom  of  movement  in  Mali  is  generally  unimpeded,  although 
police  checks  occur  in  which  Malians  and  foreigners  alike  are 
stopped,  particularly  at  night.   These  checks  are  used 
ostensibly  to  restrict  the  movement  of  contraband  goods  and  to 
check  vehicle  registrations.   In  practice,  some  police 
supplement  their  salaries  by  assessing  ad  hoc  fines  or 
confiscating  goods.   Foreign  travel  requires  an  exit  visa,  but 
this  is  easy  to  obtain.   Repatriation  is  not  restricted. 

Due  to  attacks  by  Tuareg  dissidents,  the  Government  imposed 
some  travel  restrictions  in  the  Gao  and  Timbuctu  regions  in 
July.   These  restrictions  continued  throughout  the  remainder 
of  1990.   The  Government  attempted  to  isolate  potential  Tuareg 
dissidents  by  designating  a  special  security  zone  in  which 
residents  were  required  to  relocate  near  government  security 
installations  or  else  be  assumed  hostile  by  the  military. 

In  past  drought  years,  Mali  both  accepted  and  generated 
displaced  persons.   Several  thousand  Malians,  mostly  Tuareg, 
were  repatriated  to  Mali  from  Algeria  in  1990  under  a 
bilateral  accord.   There  is  some  evidence  that  this 
repatriation  was  poorly  coordinated  and  that  receiving  areas 
were  ill-equipped  to  deal  with  the  repatriates.   This  may  have 
contributed  to  Tuareg  dissidence.   In  1990  Mali  permitted 
entry  to  between  7,000  and  8,000  Peulh  refugees  from 
Mauritania  and  several  hundred  refugees  from  Liberia. 

Section  3   Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

Citizens  do  not  have  the  right  to  change  their  government 
through  peaceful  means.   Important  policies  and  decisions  are 
made  by  the  President,  in  consultation  with  the  19-member 
Central  Executive  Bureau  of  the  UDPM  and  the  Council  of 
Ministers.   The  memberships  of  these  groups  overlap.   The 
military  role  in  governing  Mali  remains  important,  but 
civilian  participation  in  the  leadership  groups  has  been 
growing.   Pressure  for  structural  political  change  may  have 
prompted  the  President  to  call  an  extraordinary  session  of  the 
National  Council  in  August  that  focused  on  democracy  within 
the  one-party  State.   Mali  held  local  party  elections  in 
October  in  preparation  for  the  1991  UDPM  congress.   Party 
elections  are  indirect,  with  an  emphasis  placed  on  arriving  at 
consensus  rather  than  political  competition.   However,  in  this 


229 


MALI 

year's  elections  for  party  offices,  the  party  allowed  direct 
competition  among  members  for  party  offices  that  led,  in  a  few 
cases,  to  violent  confrontations  between  candidates' 
supporters . 

Although  multiple  candidates  often  contest  party  elections  at 
the  local  level,  only  carefully  selected  party  candidates  run 
for  seats  in  the  National  Assembly.   These  elections  occur 
every  4  years.   Party  elections  held  November  4  were  marred  by 
allegations  of  administrative  irregularities  and  claims  that 
the  Government  had  exaggerated  the  number  of  voters.   Proposed 
legislation  is  debated  and  endorsed  in  the  National  Assembly, 
after  its  acceptance  by  the  Council  of  Ministers  and  review  by 
the  Supreme  Court.   The  Supreme  Court  reviews  cases  to  see 
that  the  law  has  been  correctly  applied  or  that  the  law  is 
constitutional. 

Section  4  Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

The  Government  affirms  that  it  adheres  to  the  principles  of 
the  Universal  Declaration  on  Human  Rights.   It  has  not, 
however,  been  receptive  to  inquiries  on  human  rights.   It  did 
not  reply  to  Amnesty  International's  (AI)  call  in  1988  for  an 
investigation  into  conditions  at  Taodenit  prison  (closed  since 
1988),  and  it  rejected  AI ' s  more  recent  call  for 
investigations  of  summary  executions  in  the  north.   Malian 
officials  have  not  allowed  an  independent  investigation  into 
these  charges.   The  Government  did  permit  the  French  Secretary 
of  State  for  Humanitarian  Action  to  travel  to  the  Gao  region 
and  speak  with  Tuareg  leaders  there.   The  independent  Malian 
Association  for  Human  Rights,  established  in  1989,  is  engaged 
in  individual  cases  having  a  human  rights  component  and  in 
sponsoring  seminars  on  human  rights  issues.   An  example  of  the 
Association's  activities  in  1990  was  its  intervention  to 
secure  the  release  of  a  journalist  arrested  in  July. 

Section  5  Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

Virtually  all  of  Mali's  ethnic  groups  are  represented  at  the 
highest  state  and  party  levels.   Nevertheless,  some  members  of 
nomadic  groups  are  not  completely  integrated  into  the  economic 
and  political  mainstream.   In  particular,  there  is 
longstanding  resentment  among  Tuaregs  at  being  ruled  by  a 
government  composed  of  a  number  of  other  ethnic  groups;  this 
factor  may  also  have  contributed  to  violent  dissidence  in 
northeastern  Mali  in  1990. 

Social  and  cultural  factors  place  men  in  the  dominant  position 
in  Mali.   There  are  a  number  of  women  in  the  professions  and 
in  important  posts  in  government,  but  economic  opportunity  for 
educated  women  is  limited.   Women  live  under  harsh  conditions, 
especially  in  the  rural  areas. 

Traditional  practice  and  existing  Malian  laws  place  women  at  a 
disadvantage  with  regard  to  family  law  and  property  rights.   A 
group  of  female  jurists  is  seeking  improved  legal  protection 
for  women  and  in  1990  addressed  the  rights  of  widows. 
Currently,  a  widow  has  no  right  to  her  husband's  property  or 
custody  of  children  conceived  during  the  marriage. 

Violence  against  women,  including  wife  beating,  is  accepted  in 
Malian  society,  though  there  are  no  statistics  to  indicate  how 


230 


MALI 

widespread  it  may  be.   The  society  generally  does  not  tolerate 
spousal  abuse  that  results  in  physical  injury  and  deals  with 
the  problem  informally  at  the  village  level;  for  example,  a 
village  chief  may  intervene  to  stop  the  abuse  and  punish  the 
perpetrator.   Legal  action  for  redress  of  injury  is  not 
normally  available,  although  severe  physical  injury  is  a 
ground  for  divorce.   The  issue  of  spousal  abuse  has  not  been 
addressed  by  the  Government.   The  National  Union  of  Malian 
Women  (UNFM)  focuses  primarily  on  establishing  cooperatives, 
improving  health  programs,  and  fostering  education.   Both  the 
Union  and  an  independent  women's  group  campaign  against  female 
circumcision,  which  is  still  a  widely  accepted  social  practice 
in  Mali.   While  the  Government  has  taken  a  public  position 
against  female  circumcision,  its  efforts  directed  against  the 
practice  are  educative  rather  than  punitive. 

Section  6  Worker  Rights 

a.  The  Right  of  Association 

The  Constitution  specifically  provides  for  the  freedom  of 
citizens  to  form  organizations  to  protect  their  "professional 
interests."   However,  workers'  right  of  association  is  limited 
to  the  National  Union  of  Malian  Workers  (UNTM) .   The  UNTM 
comprises  12  unions  and  is  Mali's  only  recognized  workers' 
organization.   The  UNTM  maintains  a  degree  of  autonomy  from 
the  Government,  and  unlike  the  women's  and  youth  associations, 
is  not  officially  a  part  of  the  party.   Although  subject  to 
considerable  government  influence  and  control,  the  UNTM  does 
take  positions  independent  of  the  Government.   In  1990  the 
UNTM  became  the  first  major  Malian  organization  to  put  itself 
on  record  in  support  of  a  multiparty  system  and  to  condemn 
publicly  the  single-party  system.   The  UNTM  Secretary  General 
is  a  party  member,  although  not  a  member  of  the  party  Central 
Executive  Council. 

Strikes  are  rarely  permitted,  and  those  deemed  by  the 
Government  to  be  taken  for  political  reasons  are  illegal. 
Given  Mali's  high  level  of  unemployment,  most  workers  are 
reluctant  to  strike  for  long  periods  of  time.   By  law,  any 
union  planning  to  go  on  strike  must  notify  the  UNTM  and  get 
prior  approval.   In  the  case  of  the  student  and  teacher 
strikes  of  1988,  no  approval  was  given,  but  the  strikes  still 
occurred  and  many  participants  suffered  reprisals.   The 
International  Labor  Organization's  (ILO)  Committee  on  freedom 
of  Association  concluded  that  the  1988  government-directed 
transfers,  dismissals,  and  arrests  of  teachers  constituted  an 
infringement  on  freedom  of  association.   The  Malian  Supreme 
Court  decided  in  favor  of  one  teacher  who  the  ILO  felt  had 
been  wrongfully  dismissed.   While  welcoming  this  positive 
court  action,  the  ILO  called  on  the  Malian  authorities  to  take 
steps  to  reinstate  other  teachers  involved  in  the  same  strike; 
as  far  as  is  known,  all  the  teachers  who  had  been  dismissed 
were  reinstated. 

The  UNTM  maintains  contacts  with  international  labor 
organizations,  both  public  and  private.   The  UNTM  is 
affiliated  with  two  international  labor  bodies:   the 
Organization  of  West  African  Workers  and  the  Organization  of 
African  Trade  Union  Unity. 

b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

There  are  no  legal  constraints  by  the  Government  or  employers 
on  workers  attempting  to  organize,  but,  in  practice,  Mali's 


231 


MALI 

unitary  party  system  effectively  inhibits  the  workers'  right 
to  organize.   True  collective  bargaining  does  not  take  place. 
The  UNTM  has  a  policy  role  in  the  agreements  negotiated  by  the 
individual  member  unions,  and  the  Government,  through  the 
Minister  of  Labor,  must  approve  all  wage  and  related 
agreements.   Wages  and  salaries  are  set  by  tripartite 
negotiations  between  the  Ministry  of  Labor,  the  labor  unions, 
and  representatives  of  the  federation  of  employers  of  the 
sector  for  which  the  wages  are  being  set.   These  negotiations 
result  in  sector-wide  collective  conventions. 

There  are  no  export  processing  zones  in  Mali. 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

The  Constitution  prohibits  forced  or  compulsory  labor,  and 
this  prohibition  is  generally  observed  in  practice.   Although 
not  sanctioned  or  upheld  by  law,  debt  slavery  exists  in  the 
salt  mining  communities  north  of  Timbuktu.   Individuals  pay 
off  debts  to  local  merchants  by  working  under  primitive  and 
dangerous  conditions  in  the  salt  mines,  with  the  debt  and 
obligation  often  passed  from  one  generation  to  the  next. 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

The  minimum  age  for  employment  is  14,  but  with  parents' 
permission  children  may  be  apprenticed  at  age  12.   In 
practice,  children  in  rural  areas  join  the  family  farming  work 
force  at  a  much  younger  age.   As  workers  in  the  informal 
sector,  they  are  not  protected  by  laws  against  unjust 
compensation,  excessive  hours,  and  capricious  discharge.   The 
Labor  Inspection  Service  of  the  Ministry  of  Labor  is 
responsible  for  enforcement  of  child  labor  laws.   The  law  is 
reasonably  effective  in  the  modern  sector,  but  this  has  no 
effect  on  the  vast  number  of  children  who  work  in  the  informal 
sector . 

e.  Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

Mali  has  a  detailed  labor  code  specifying  conditions  of 
employment,  including  hours,  wages,  and  social  security 
benefits.   The  normal  workweek  is  44  hours.   The  minimum  wage 
is  approximately  $28.00  per  month,  and  is  supplemented  by  a 
required  package  of  benefits,  including  social  security  and 
health  care  benefits.   While  this  could  provide  a  minimum 
standard  of  living  if  it  went  to  support  only  one  person,  most 
wage  earners  support  extended  families.   In  addition,  most 
people  work  in  the  informal  sector,  outside  the  realm  of  these 
rules  and  conventions.   Health  and  safety  standards  vary 
depending  upon  the  category  of  work.   While  in  theory  the 
Labor  Inspection  Service  oversees  these  standards,  there  is 
limited  enforcement  due  to  the  lack  of  inspectors.   Employers 
are  required  to  pay  into  a  national  social  security  fund. 


232 


MAURITANIA 


The  Islamic  Republic  of  Mauritania  has  been  governed  since 
1978  by  the  Military  Committee  for  National  Salvation  (CMSN) . 
Colonel  Maaouya  Quid  Sid 'Ahmed  Taya,  President  of  the 
Committee  and  Chief  of  State,  assumed  power  in  1984  after  the 
bloodless  ouster  of  the  former  president,  Lt .  Col.  Mohamed 
Khouna  Ould  Haidalla.   All  18  members  of  the  Military 
Committee  hold  ministerial  portfolios  or  occupy  other  key 
military  or  government  positions.   The  Committee  functions 
nominally  as  a  legislative  body  under  the  direction  of 
President  Taya,  and  the  President,  assisted  by  his  Council  of 
Ministers  and  a  few  close  advisers,  wields  executive  power. 
Political  and  opposition  parties  are  prohibited  in  Mauritania. 

Mauritanian  security  forces  number  about  16,000  and,  in 
addition  to  the  regular  armed  forces,  include  the  National 
Guard,  the  Gendarmerie  (a  specialized  corps  of  paramilitary 
police),  and  the  police.   The  Gendarmerie  is  directed  by  the 
Ministry  of  Defense,  while  the  National  Guard  and  police  come 
under  the  Ministry  of  Interior.   The  security  forces  continued 
to  be  responsible  for  widespread  human  rights  abuse. 

Mauritania  continues  to  face  massive  economic  and  social 
problems:   drought,  desertification,  insect  infestation,  the 
Western  Sahara  conflict,  extensive  unemployment,  rapid 
inflation,  one  of  the  highest  per  capita  foreign  debts  in 
Africa,  minimal  infrastructure,  inadequate  health  and 
education  systems,  and  an  exodus  from  rural  areas.   Although 
rainfall  levels  have  improved  during  the  past  3  years,  the 
prior  drought  years  forced  large  numbers  of  nomads  into  towns, 
with  a  consequent  weakening  of  traditional  Maur  nomadic 
culture  and  a  severe  strain  on  government  resources. 

The  human  rights  situation  in  Mauritania  continued  to 
deteriorate  in  1990.   In  the  aftermath  of  the  1989  rioting, 
tens  of  thousands  of  Senegalese  citizens  as  well  as 
Pular-speaking  Mauritanian  citizens  were  extrajudicially 
expelled  to  Senegal.   According  to  the  United  Nations  High 
Commissioner  for  Refugees  (UNHCR) ,  as  many  as  45,000  of  these 
Mauritanian  citizens  remained  encamped  on  the  Senegalese  side 
of  the  border  during  1990  and  were  not  allowed  to  return  by 
the  Mauritanian  Government.   During  mid-October,  however,  the 
UNHCR  began  a  little-publicized  program  of  repatriating 
Mauritanians  from  Senegal  for  reunification  with  their 
families  in  Mauritania.   There  were  recurring  incidents  of 
cross-border  violence,  as  armed  bands  of  expellees  regularly 
crossed  the  river  from  Senegal  to  carry  out  raids  in 
Mauritania.   The  Government  reacted  swiftly  and  harshly,  and 
security  forces  meted  out  severe  punishment  to  anyone  it 
suspected  of  being  involved  with,  or  even  sympathetic  to,  the 
raiders.   There  were  numerous  credible  reports  of 
extrajudicial  killings,  disappearances,  and  further 
expulsions,  particularly  during  the  first  6  months  of  1990. 

These  extrajudicial  actions  by  government  security  forces 
helped  to  create  a  climate  of  unbridled  frontier  justice  in 
parts  of  southern  Mauritania  in  early  1990.   In  an  attempt  to 
rein  in  the  security  forces,  the  Minister  of  Interior  issued 
instructions  prohibiting  abuses  and  threatened  to  discipline 
violators.   Some  were  transferred,  but  no  other  sanctions  were 
reported.   Credible  reports  of  unlawful  detention  and  torture 
surfaced  during  the  year,  and  most  other  human  rights, 
including  denial  of  fair  public  trial,  freedom  of  expression, 
association,  and  the  right  of  citizens  to  change  their 
government  remained  tightly  circumscribed.   President  Taya 


233 


MAURITANIA 

released  11  Halpulaar  prisoners  from  detention  in 
mid-September.   However,  well  over  1,000  Halpulaar s  and 
Soninkes  were  arrested  in  late  1990  on  questionable  charges  of 
coup  plotting. 

RESPECT  FOR  HUMAN  RIGHTS 

Section  1  Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.  Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

Government  security  forces  engaged  in  widespread  extrajudicial 
killings  of  persons,  particularly  non-Hassaniya-speaking  black 
Mauritanians,  suspected  of  being  sympathetic  to  Mauritanian 
refugees  who  crossed  from  Senegal  into  Mauritania  to  attack 
military  installations  and  villages  and  to  seize  property  they 
considered  rightfully  theirs.   Although  it  is  impossible  to 
determine  how  many  black  Mauritanians  were  summarily  executed, 
substantial  numbers  of  victims  were  reported  in  almost  every 
town  and  village  along  the  Senegal  river.   In  April  and  May, 
at  least  15  civilians  were  extrajudicially  killed  by  security 
forces  for  suspected  sympathy  to  the  raiders  in  the  regions  of 
Guidimaka  and  Brakna.   Security  forces  also  killed  villagers 
who  refused  to  submit  to  soldiers'  demands  for  food  and 
supplies.   In  May  security  forces  killed  two  young  boys  who 
refused  to  surrender  their  cow  near  Diagnily  and  later  killed 
a  father  and  son  near  Maghama  also  for  refusal  to  supply  a  cow 
to  the  soldiers.   Security  forces  also  engaged  in 
indiscriminate  shooting  at  unarmed  villagers,  such  as  the 
killing  by  National  Guardsmen  of  a  Muslim  religious  leader  at 
Ngoral-Guidal  as  he  emerged  from  bathing  in  a  river.   At 
year's  end,  there  were  no  reports  of  Government  inquiries  into 
these  incidents  or  any  efforts  to  punish  those  responsible. 

White  and  black  Maurs  in  southern  Mauritania  used  firearms 
provided  by  the  Government,  ostensibly  for  self-defense 
against  cross-border  raids,  to  attack  unarmed  non-Hassaniya- 
speaking  blacks.   On  April  27,  an  armed  group  of  black  Maurs 
attacked  non-Hassaniya-speaking  families  near  Sedelme, 
Guidimaka,  killing  14  persons.   Also  in  April  three  15-year- 
old  Peuhl  shepherds  were  beaten  to  death  by  black  Maurs  in 
Guidimaka.   These  bands  reportedly  acted  with  the  tacit 
approval,  and  in  some  cases  active  encouragement,  of  local 
security  forces  (see  also  Section  I.e.).   There  were  no 
reports  of  government  investigation  into  these  incidents  by 
the  end  of  the  year . 

b.  Disappearances 

There  were  no  confirmed  incidents  of  disappearance  in  1990. 
People  believed  to  have  disappeared  were  subsequently 
determined  to  have  been  extrajudicially  killed  or  expelled. 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment 

Despite  the  Government's  stated  opposition  to  torture  and 
legal  prohibition  against  its  use,  the  security  forces  often 
used  harsh  interrogation  techniques  against  dissidents  and 
black  Mauritanians,  particularly  in  the  southern  regions  along 
the  Senegal  river.   Many  of  the  detainees  arrested  in  November 
(see  Section  l.d.)  were  also  subjected  to  harsh  interrogation 
techniques.   The  forms  of  torture  included  beatings  and  denial 
of  water  and  food.   The  Imam  from  Gourel  Guida,  detained  after 


234 


MAURITANIA 

criticizing  the  Government  for  arbitrary  arrests  and 
extrajudicial  punishment,  died  as  a  result  of  lengthy  torture 
by  the  Gendarmerie.   On  July  21,  a  Halpulaar  herd  owner  was 
taken  into  custody  by  the  Gendarmerie  near  M'bout  and 
subsequently  beaten  to  death.   He  was  suspected  of  having  sold 
some  of  his  livestock  in  Senegal.   A  Halpulaar  shepherd  died 
as  a  result  of  torture  by  security  forces  near  Selibaby  Founti 
in  May.   There  were  no  known  investigations  into  incidents  of 
torture  by  the  end  of  1990 . 

There  were  also  reports  of  abuse  and  rape  of  women  by  security 
forces.   In  June  the  mayor  of  Wompou  was  severely  beaten  by 
six  soldiers  after  he  intervened  to  prevent  the  soldiers  from 
absconding  with  young  women  from  the  village.   The  Government 
subsequently  arrested  the  six  soldiers  and  publicly  promised 
to  discipline  them  appropriately,  although  no  announcement 
about  punishment  of  the  six  had  been  made  by  year's  end. 

d.   Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

Although  Mauritanian  law  assures  expeditious  arraignment  and 
trial,  access  to  legal  counsel,  and  the  right  of  appeal,  these 
rights  are  frequently  not  observed,  particularly  in  cases  of 
political  dissidents  or  persons  suspected  on  national  security 
grounds.   They  are  somewhat  more  often  observed  in  ordinary 
criminal  cases.   The  courts  must  review  the  legality  of  a 
person's  detention  no  more  than  72  hours  after  his  or  her 
arrest.   Many  people  are  detained  without  charge  and  held 
incommunicado  such  as  Traore  Lad j i ,  a  prominent  Mauritanian 
economist,  who  was  detained  by  the  Government  from  October 
1989  to  September  1990.   He  was  held  incommunicado,  was  never 
charged,  brought  to  trial,  or  given  access  to  legal  counsel. 
On  March  17,  former  Foreign  Minister  Hamdi  Ould  Mouknass  was 
arrested  by  the  police  and  held  incommunicado  for 
approximately  1  week,  before  being  released.   Mouknass  was 
never  charged,  tried,  or  given  access  to  legal  counsel,  and  no 
reason  for  his  detention  was  given.   In  March  security 
officials  detained  at  least  20  prominent  Halpulaars  in 
Nouakchott  suspected  of  involvement  with  an  illegal  Halpulaar 
dissident  organization.   At  least  two  were  released  1  or  2 
days  later.   The  fate  of  the  others  remained  unknown  at  the 
end  of  the  year.   In  late  November,  the  Government  began 
arresting  non-Hassaniya-speaking  black  Mauritanians  in  the 
military  as  well  as  civilian  sectors.   By  the  end  of  the  year, 
between  1,000  and  2,000  persons  had  been  arrested.   All  were 
held  incommunicado.  There  were  persistent  reports  that  some 
persons  had  been  tortured  to  death  or  were  secretly  executed 
without  trial  by  government  security  forces.   The  Government 
alleges  that  those  arrested  had  been  involved  in  a  plot  to 
assassinate  key  officials  and  to  commit  acts  of  sabotage. 
Despite  promises  to  respect  due  process,  by  year's  end  the 
Government  had  not  pressed  any  charges  or  taken  specific  steps 
to  bring  those  in  detention  to  trial. 

There  were  also  widespread  arrests  and  lengthy  extrajudicial 
detentions  by  the  police  in  Rosso.   Mamadou  Fassa  was  taken 
into  custody  in  early  June  and  held  for  several  weeks  before 
being  released.   The  Imam  of  the  mosque  of  Medina  Trois  in 
Rosso  was  similarly  held  incommunicado  for  an  extended  period 
before  being  expelled  to  Senegal  in  July.   Three  Halpulaar 
were  detained  by  Rosso  police  in  mid-May  and  expelled  to 
Senegal  in  mid-June.   The  police  in  Rosso  released  a  number  of 
political  detainees — perhaps  as  many  as  40 — unconditionally  in 
early  September. 


235 


MAURITANIA 

There  were  multiple  reports  of  arrests,  intimidation, 
prolonged  detention,  and  expulsion  committed  by  security 
forces  in  several  other  river  communities,  including  Boghe, 
Kaedi ,  Djeol,  and  Maghama .   There  were  also  several  reports  of 
a  secret  off-limits  detention  camp  in  a  remote  area  some  20 
kilometers  south  of  Aleg,  in  which  suspected  dissidents  were 
held  without  trial  for  extended  periods  of  time.   The 
Government  reportedly  closed  this  camp  and  released  all  its 
detainees  in  early  September. 

e.   Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

There  are  three  legal  systems  in  Mauritania:   the  Shari'a,  the 
special  courts,  and  the  State  Security  Court.   While  the 
judiciary  is  nominally  independent,  many  observers  believe 
that  judges  take  their  cue  from  the  Government  when  sentencing 
opponents  of  the  regime.   The  legal  system  functions  primarily 
under  the  Shari'a  (Islamic  law)  put  in  place  during  the 
Haidalla  regime.   The  Ministry  of  Justice  administers  the 
Shari'a  and  selects  judicial  personnel.   The  Taya 
administration  has  halted  the  use  by  Islamic  judges  of  extreme 
physical  punishments,  such  as  amputations,  and  is  also  slowly 
eliminating  a  number  of  unqualified  Shari'a  judges  who  were 
appointed  during  the  Haidalla  years.   Judges  now  cannot  be 
tenured  before  they  have  completed  7  years  of  service. 
Commercial  and  banking  offenses,  traffic  violations  that  cause 
bodily  harm,  and  offenses  against  the  security  of  the  State 
fall  under  the  jurisdiction  of  the  special  courts,  which 
render  judgments  on  the  basis  of  laws  modeled  after  French 
law.   While  trials  in  the  ordinary  courts  are  public,  the 
State  Security  Court,  which  tries  offenses  against  state 
security,  may  conduct  secret  trials. 

All  defendants,  regardless  of  the  court,  have  the  legal  right 
to  be  present  with  legal  counsel  during  the  proceedings.  If 
necessary,  the  accused  is  provided  counsel  at  public  expense. 
Defendants  may  confront  witnesses  and  present  evidence.  They 
may  appeal  the  sentences  of  the  ordinary  courts  but  not  those 
of  the  State  Security  Court. 

The  right  to  a  fair  public  trial  continued  to  be  severely 
abused.   Severe  reprisals  by  government  security  forces  were 
carried  out  in  southern  Mauritania  during  the  first  6  months 
of  1990  without  any  recourse  to  judicial  proceedings. 
Security  forces  imposed  extreme  punishments  on  their  own 
accord,  without  any  legal  authorization  or  restriction. 

Despite  the  Government's  categorical  denial  that  extrajudicial 
expulsions  had  resumed,  during  the  first  6  months  of  the  year 
as  many  as  3,000  non-Hassaniya-speaking  blacks  were  expelled 
extrajudicially  or  fled  out  of  fear  of  arbitrary  action  by  the 
security  forces  or  armed  Maurs.   Mauritanian  law  specifies 
that  all  persons,  including  foreigners,  have  the  right  to 
their  property  and  possessions,  and  can  be  deprived  of  them 
only  by  a  court  decision.   Nonetheless,  in  many  instances 
security  forces  randomly  apprehended  people,  took  them  to 
border  crossings,  and  sent  them  across  to  Senegal  without  any 
official  processing.   Even  those  carrying  appropriate 
Mauritanian  identification  were  expelled;  many  were  stripped 
of  their  belongings  and  documentation,  and  many  were  forced 
across  the  river  at  gunpoint.   Those  who  fled  or  were  expelled 
were  primarily  non-Hassaniya-speaking  Maur itanians , 
particularly  Halpulaars,  and,  to  a  much  lesser  degree,  other 
black  African  ethnic  groups. 


L 


236 


MAURITANIA 

In  at  least  two  instances,  entire  villages  crossed  the  river 
into  Senegal.   In  May  the  villages  of  Gourel  Mamodou  and 
Mbone,  each  with  roughly  400  residents,  moved  to  Senegal. 
Their  flight  was  prompted  by  disappearances,  especially  of 
young  women  and  children,  and  by  summary  executions  by 
authorities.   Several  thousand  non-Hassaniya-speaking  blacks 
reportedly  fled  to  Mali  during  the  year  for  similar  reasons. 

The  Government  contended  that  many,  if  not  all  of  the  persons 
who  fled  or  were  expelled,  were  in  fact  Senagalese  nationals, 
and  that  their  Mauritanian  identity  documents  were  fradulent. 
By  the  end  of  the  year,  the  Government  had  failed  to  set  up 
procedures  to  permit  access  to  the  courts  by  expellees  who 
wished  to  obtain  confirmation  of  their  citizenship  and  the 
right  to  return  home.   A  small  number  of  people  were  allowed 
to  return,  beginning  in  September  apparently  as  a  result  of 
informal  arrangements  with  security  forces  and  the  personal 
intervention  of  government  officials.   In  addition,  the  UNHCR 
was  given  authorization  in  October  to  begin  quietly 
repatriating  Mauritanians  from  Senegal  in  order  to  reunite 
them  with  their  families  in  Mauritania.   This  operation 
resulted  in  the  repatriation  of  perhaps  100  to  200 
Mauritanians  and,  although  intermittenly  interrupted,  was 
still  continuing  at  year's  end.   The  number  of  cross-border 
raids  by  expelled  Mauritanians  reportedly  decreased  toward  the 
end  of  1990.   There  was  a  corresponding  decline  in  reprisals 
by  government  security  forces. 

f.   Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 
Correspondence 

Under  Mauritanian  law,  judicial  warrants  are  required  to 
perform  home  searches.   This  requirement  is  often  ignored  in 
practice  in  "national  security"  cases.   There  were  also 
continuing  reports  of  government  surveillance  of  suspected 
dissidents,  as  well  as  intimidation  and  harassment  of 
Pular-speaking  black  Mauritanians  in  the  Senegal  River  Valley. 

Section  2   Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including: 

a.   Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press: 

There  are  no  legal  guarantees  of  freedom  of  speech  and  press 
and  both  are  severely  restricted  in  practice.   Mauritanians 
criticize  government  policies  only  in  conversations  with 
friends  and  relatives.   Military  personnel  are  under  tight 
surveillance,  and  views  expressed  to  military  colleagues  in 
private  that  could  be  construed  as  even  mildly  critical  of  the 
Government  are  likely  to  cause  intense  interrogation  by 
military  security  officers.   The  Government  reacts  quickly  to 
any  public  comments  it  thinks  pose  a  threat  to  the  security  of 
the  State,  particularly,  any  expression  of  ethnic 
dissatisfaction,  or  criticism  of  the  Government's  ethnic 
policies  . 

The  Government  owns  and  operates  Mauritania's  only  daily 
newspaper  and  the  radio  and  television  stations.   During  the 
past  3  years  the  Government  allowed  limited  criticism  of  its 
policies,  within  the  context  of  interviews  with  government 
officials.   In  early  1988,  the  Government  authorized  the 
publication  of  two  privately  owned  monthly  magazines, 
Mauritanie  Demain  and  L ' Evenement .   These  publications 
periodically  carried  articles  on  mildly  controversial  social 
issues  but  refrained  from  any  direct  criticism  of  the 
Government.   Both  practiced  self-censorship  and,  in  part  due 


237 


MAURITANIA 

to  financial  constraints,  reach  a  very  limited  audience.   In 
February  the  Government  disbanded  a  student  law  club  at  the 
University  of  Nouakchott  and  questioned  its  members  after  a 
heated  and  frank  discussion  of  Government  ethnic  and  human 
rights  policies  occurred  at  a  meeting  sponsored  by  the  club. 
Some  members  of  the  panel,  prominent  attorneys  and  academics, 
were  also  called  to  discuss  the  incident  with  the  Minister  of 
the  Interior. 

b.  Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

Although  Mauritanian  law  guarantees  the  rights  of  assembly  and 
association,  since  the  1978  coup  the  Government  has  banned  all 
political  movements  and  prohibited  meetings  of  a  political 
nature.   All  groups  must  be  registered  with  the  Minister  of 
Interior.   The  Government  does  occasionally  permit 
demonstrations  by  groups  for  purposes  of  which  it  approves, 
e.g.,  in  August  in  Nouakchott  it  allowed  a  small  demonstration 
of  popular  support  for  the  Iraqi  invasion  of  Kuwait. 

c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

Islam  is  the  official  religion  of  Mauritania.   Virtually  all 
citizens  are  Muslim.   Mauritanian  Muslims  are  prohibited  from 
entering  non-Islamic  houses  of  worship  and  from  converting  to 
another  religion.   Proselytizing  by  non-Muslims  and  the 
construction  of  Christian  churches  and  other  non-Islamic 
houses  of  worship  are  prohibited.   The  Roman  Catholic 
community  in  Mauritania  has  five  churches,  which  operate 
freely  as  long  as  they  restrict  their  services  to  resident 
foreigners . 

d.  Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

Traditionally,  there  have  been  few  restrictions  on  movement 
within  Mauritania,  where  nomadism  has  long  been  a  way  of 
life.   Local  authorities  imposed  and  enforced  at  their  own 
initiative  dusk-to-dawn  curfews  in  some  villages  along  the 
Senegal  river  boundary. 

Since  1985  Mauritanians  no  longer  need  exit  visas  to  travel 
abroad,  although  there  were  recurrent  reports  of  some  persons 
being  denied  passports  for  unexplained,  and  possibly 
political,  reasons.   The  price  of  a  new  passport  jumped  to 
about  $125  in  1990,  effectively  rendering  a  passport 
unaffordable  for  most  Mauritanian  citizens. 

As  many  as  105,000  displaced  persons  arrived  in  Mauritania 
from  Senegal  during  April  and  May  1989.   As  many  as  an 
additional  15,000  refugees  from  Mali  fleeing  Halpulaar-related 
ethnic  violence  entered  Mauritania  during  the  early  months  of 
1990.   Despite  limited  resources,  the  Mauritanian  Government 
continued  to  assist  all  refugees  from  both  Senegal  and  Mali. 
The  Government  also  permitted  the  UNHCR  and  the  International 
Committee  of  the  Red  Cross  (ICRC)  to  establish  temporary 
offices  in  Nouakchott  to  provide  aid  to  displaced  persons. 
One  ICRC  delegate  remained  at  the  beginning  of  1990  to  wind 
down  the  ICRC  operation.   The  ICRC  office  in  Nouakchott  was 
subsequently  closed.   Mauritania  continues  to  be  covered  by 
the  ICRC  Regional  Delegation  in  Tunisia  for  periodic  visits  to 
prisons.   There  were  no  reports  of  the  forceable  return  of 
refugees  to  Senegal  or  to  Mali. 

As  a  result  of  the  ongoing  conflict  in  neighboring  Western 
Sahara  between  Morocco  and  the  Polisario  Front,  a  small  number 


238 


MAURITANIA 

of  refugees  from  the  Western  Sahara  have  settled  in  Nouadhibou 
and  other  northern  towns  and  have  been  successfully  absorbed 
into  Mauritanian  society. 

Section  3  Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

Citizens  of  Mauritania  do  not  have  the  means  to  change  their 
government  through  democratic  means.   All  political  power 
rests  in  the  hands  of  the  military  regime.   The  Military 
Committee  for  National  Salvation  (CMSN)  remains  the  "custodian 
of  the  nation's  sovereignty,"  and  all  executive  and 
legislative  functions  reside  with  the  Committee.   Membership 
is  limited  to  military  officers,  who  occupy  ministerial 
positions  or  important  military  and  security  posts.   The  CMSN 
is  comprised  predominantly  of  Maurs .   Non-Maur  membership  on 
the  CMSN  and  in  other  senior  civilian  and  military  positions 
has  decreased  in  the  wake  of  ethnic  tensions. 

The  Government  uses  a  quasi-political  organization,  the 
Structure  for  the  Education  of  the  Masses  (SEM),  to  mobilize 
people  to  carry  out  local  improvement  projects,  to  relay 
policy  initiatives,  and  to  serve  as  a  channel  to  discuss 
grievances.   SEM ' s  are  found  at  all  governmental  levels  down 
to  villages  and  neighborhoods.   In  practice,  most  significant 
grievances,  including  violence,  are  discussed  at  the  family, 
clan,  or  tribal  level  first  and  passed  along  to  influential 
governmental  figures  of  the  same  family  or  tribe. 

As  political  parties  are  prohibited,  opposition  groups  operate 
clandestinely  or  from  outside  the  country.   An  unknown  number 
of  people  were  arrested  in  1989  on  suspicion  of  membership  in 
the  African  Liberation  Forces  of  Mauritania.   They  were  still 
detained  without  charge  at  the  end  of  1990.   Other  opposition 
groups  include  the  Resistance  for  Unity,  Independence,  and 
Democracy  in  Mauritania,  established  in  1989,  and  the  United 
Front  for  Armed  Resistance  in  Mauritania.   Each  of  these 
groups  reportedly  conducts  armed  raids  into  Mauritania. 

The  Government  had  planned  to  hold  complete  nationwide 
municipal  elections  in  January  1990,  but  these  elections  were 
postponed  in  the  aftermath  of  the  April  1989  disruptions. 
These  elections,  which  allowed  for  popular  expression  on  local 
issues  and  candidates,  were  held  in  December  and  appeared  to 
be  generally  free  of  government  interference.   While  there 
were  some  allegations  of  fraud,  the  major  complaint  among  the 
populace  concerned  the  administration  of  the  elections. 

Section  4   Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

In  the  past,  the  Taya  Government  has  been  generally  responsive 
to  human  rights  concerns.   It  allowed  a  UNHRC  representative 
to  investigate  allegations  of  slavery  and  permitted  visits  by 
Amnesty  International  (AI),  the  International  Commission  of 
Jurists,  and  the  African  Jurists  Association.   A 
representative  from  the  London  Anti-Slavery  Society  visited 
Mauritania  in  1990  to  investigate  vestiges  of  slavery.   In 
1990  both  AI  and  Africa  Watch  published  reports  on  human 
rights  abuses  in  Mauritania. 

The  Mauritanian  Human  Rights  League,  affiliated  with  the 
Paris-based  International  Federation  of  Human  Rights  and  the 
Inter-African  Union  for  Human  Rights,  is  staffed  by  volunteers 


239 


MAURITANIA 

who  address  concerns  such  as  eradicating  vestiges  of  slavery, 
ensuring  the  uniform  application  of  Shari'a  law,  promoting  the 
status  of  women,  and  preventing  abuses  such  as  arbitrary 
arrest,  detention,  and  torture.   In  the  wake  of  the  ethnic 
disturbances  of  1989,  the  League  experienced  serious  setbacks 
in  its  efforts  to  remain  a  viable  and  independent 
organization.   It  issued  a  statement  in  July  1989  critical  of 
government  expulsions  of  black  Mauritanians ,  but  since  then, 
under  government  pressure,  it  has  not  publicly  commented  on  or 
questioned  the  Government's  human  rights  excesses. 

Section  5   Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

Mauritania  is  situated  geographically  and  culturally  on  the 
divide  between  traditionally  nomadic  Arabic  (Hassaniya)- 
speaking  Maurs  of  the  north  and  the  sedentary  black 
cultivators  of  the  African  south.   The  interaction  of  these 
two  groups  produces  the  complex  cultural  diversity  as  well  as 
the  ethnic  tensions  in  Mauritanian  society.   Historically,  the 
Hassaniya-speaking  white  Maurs  have  dominated  the  political 
and  economic  system.   Taken  together,  the  Hassaniya-speaking 
black  Maurs  and  Mauritania's  non-Hassaniya-speaking  blacks 
outnumber  the  white  Maurs  by  a  considerable  majority.   This 
racial  majority  is  by  no  means  cohesive,  however,  since  black 
Maurs  identify  in  many  ways  more  closely  with  the  white  Maur 
population.   Many  non-Hassaniya-speaking  black  Mauritanians 
have  long  contended  that  since  independence,  white  Maur 
domination  in  government,  state  enterprises,  business,  and 
religious  institutions  is  a  result  of  ethnic  and  linguistic 
discrimination.   It  has  been  a  longstanding  policy  of  the 
Government  to  promote  Arabization  and  the  use  of  Arabic  as  the 
country's  principal  language,  although  French  is  still  widely 
used  as  well.   Non-Hassaniya-speaking  black  Mauritanians 
charge  that  the  Government's  new  land  reform  law  is  a  means  to 
allow  white  and  black  Maurs  to  encroach  upon  the  fertile  land 
in  the  Senegal  River  Valley  that  had  been  traditionally  their 
preserve.   Recent  movements  of  nomads  into  the  Senegal  River 
Valley  as  a  result  of  the  decade-long  drought  in  the  north 
further  exacerbated  tensions. 

The  longstanding  ethnic  tensions  within  Mauritanian  society 
came  dramatically  to  the  fore  in  April  1989.   The  events  of 
that  period  resulted  more  from  an  eruption  of  underlying 
ethnic  tensions  rather  than  officially  sanctioned  government 
policy  on  either  side  of  the  river.   This  was  not  true, 
however,  for  the  expulsions  of  non-Hassaniya-speaking  black 
Mauritanians  that  followed  which  were  largely  orchestrated  by 
Mauritanian  security  forces.   The  expulsions  and  effective 
deprivation  of  citizenship  were  based  only  on  ethnicity,  since 
only  non-Hassaniya-speaking  black  Mauritanians  were  affected. 
The  regular  cross-border  raids  were  carried  out  by 
non-Hassaniya-speaking  ethnic  groups,  and  Government  security 
force  reprisals  were  therefore  directed  solely  against  these 
groups . 

In  the  wake  of  expulsions,  repatriations,  and  unsettled 
security  conditions,  some  white  and  black  Maurs  were  resettled 
into  deserted,  previously  Halpulaar-inhabited  villages  in  the 
Senegal  River  Valley.   For  example,  some  2,700  inhabitants  of 
Nouakchott  refugee  camps  were  resettled  in  deserted  Halpulaar 
villages  in  the  Trarza  region  in  the  early  months  of  1990. 
While  many  of  those  resettled  were  themselves  refugees  from 
Senegal,  others  had  moved  from  northern  Mauritania  in  search 
of  richer  farmlands  and  were  resented  by  the  Halpulaar 
residents . 


240 


MAURITANIA 

Women  have  legal  rights  to  property,  divorce,  and  child 
custody.   Although  there  is  a  somewhat  lower  percentage  of 
women  than  men  educated  at  the  university  level,  there  are  no 
legal  restrictions  on  education  for  women.   Women  do  not  wear 
the  veil,  may  travel  without  restriction,  and  may  own  and 
manage  their  own  businesses.   The  Government  is  encouraging 
the  entry  of  women  into  the  professions,  government,  and 
business,  and  a  number  of  women  have  moved  into  senior  or 
midlevel  government  positions  in  recent  years.   In  late  1988, 
the  Taya  Government  created  a  new  Ministry  of  Women's  Affairs, 
Arts,  and  Tourism,  and  appointed  a  woman  as  the  first 
Minister.   A  female  counselor  in  the  presidency  assumed 
responsibility  for  women's  affairs  following  the  death  of  this 
Minister . 

The  Government  has  also  been  instrumental  in  opening  up  new 
opportunities  for  employment  traditionally  reserved  for  men, 
such  as  in  hospital  work.   According  to  Mauritanian  law,  men 
and  women  must  receive  equal  pay  for  equal  work;  Mauritania's 
two  largest  employers,  the  civil  service  and  the  state  mining 
company  SNIM,  respect  this  law. 

Violence  against  women  occurs,  but  no  data  exists  to  indicate 
its  extent.   The  police  and  judiciary  have  been  known  to 
intervene  in  domestic  disputes,  but  the  Mauritanian  media 
provides  no  coverage  of  this.   The  Government  has  taken  no 
position  nor  issued  any  statements  on  violence  against  women 
or  on  female  genital  mutilation  (circumcision)  which  is  a 
traditional  practice  in  some  areas  of  southern  Mauritania, 
where  infibulation  is  practiced.   This  custom  is  seldom,  if 
ever,  practiced  in  the  north,  and  some  evidence  indicates  that 
the  incidence  of  female  circumcision  is  diminishing  in  the 
modern,  urbanized  sector. 

Section  6   Worker  Rights 

a.  The  Right  of  Association 

Workers  are  free  to  establish  unions  at  the  local  and  national 
level.   There  are  currently  36  trade  unions  in  the  country. 
All,  however,  must  be  affiliates  of  the  Union  of  Mauritanian 
Workers  (UTM) ,  by  law  the  country's  only  central  labor  body. 
The  trade  unions  and  the  UTM  elect  their  leadership 
democratically  and  determine  most  of  their  programs  and 
policies  without  government  interference,  provided  these  avoid 
political  issues.   The  UTM  is  an  active  member  of  the 
International  Confederation  of  Arab  Trade  Unions  and  the 
Organization  of  African  Trade  Union  Unity  and  represents 
Mauritanian  workers  in  the  International  Labor  Organization 
(ILO) . 

Although  Mauritanian  law  grants  workers  the  right  to  strike, 
in  practice  strikes  rarely  occur,  due  to  Government  pressure. 
Under  Mauritanian  law,  tripartite  arbitration  committees, 
composed  of  union,  business,  and  government  representatives, 
may  impose  binding  arbitration  that  automatically  terminates 
any  strike.   In  October  members  of  the  bakers'  union  in 
Nouakchott  staged  a  1-day  strike,  and  subsequently  won  some 
wage  concessions. 

b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

Unions  are  free  to  organize  workers  without  government  or 
employer  interference.  According  to  the  UTM,  close  to  90 
percent  of  industrial  and  commercial  workers  in  Mauritania  are 


241 


MAURITANIA 

members  of  unions.   The  laws  providing  worker's  protection 
against  antiunion  discrimination  are  regularly  enforced. 
Collective  bargaining,  notably  to  set  wages,  occurs  informally 
between  individual  unions,  employers,  the  Government,  and  the 
UTM.   In  addition,  employees  or  employers  may  bring  labor 
disputes  to  three-person  labor  courts  that  are  overseen 
jointly  by  the  Ministries  of  Justice  and  Labor.   Labor  leaders 
regard  these  courts  as  unbiased  and  effective.   There  are  no 
export  processing  zones  in  Mauritania,  and  labor  laws  are 
applied  uniformly  throughout  the  country. 

In  April  1990,  the  Senegalese  Confederation  of  Workers  (CNTS) 
submitted  a  representation  to  the  ILO,  charging  the  Government 
of  Mauritania  with  violating  several  ILO  conventions.   The 
CNTS  detailed  the  Government's  "deportation  and  banishment  of 
its  own  black  African  citizens,"  and  specified  numerous 
sectors  in  which  significant  numbers  of  non-Hassaniya-speaking 
blacks  were  dismissed  without  cause  and,  in  many  cases, 
deprived  of  basic  rights. 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

Slavery  was  officially  abolished  in  Mauritania  only  in  1980, 
and  many  persons  whose  ancestors  were  slaves  still-  occupied 
positions  of  servitude  in  1990.   This  was  due  in  part  to  the 
economic  hardships  they  would  have  encountered  if  they  had 
left.   However,  in  some  areas  persons  were  sometimes  held 
against  their  will  and  forced  to  perform  unpaid  labor.   Africa 
Watch  claims  that  slavery  persists  and  charges  that  the 
Government  has  taken  no  significant  practical  steps  to 
eradicate  the  practice.   Several  reports  indicated  that  some 
instances  of  forced  labor  involved  young  children. 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

Education  is  not  compulsory  in  Mauritania,  but  Mauritanian  law 
specifies  that  no  child  may  be  employed  before  the  age  of  13 
in  the  agricultural  sector  without  the  permission  of  the 
Minister  of  Labor,  nor  before  the  age  of  15  in  the 
nonagricultural  sector.   The  law  provides  that  employed 
children  aged  14  to  16  should  receive  70  percent  of  the 
minimum  wage,  and  those  from  17  to  18  should  receive  90 
percent  of  the  minimum  wage.   There  is  limited  enforcement  of 
child  labor  laws  by  the  few  inspectors  in  the  Ministry  of 
Labor.   In  practice,  much  younger  children  in  the  countryside 
pursue  herding,  cultivation,  and  other  significant  labor  in 
support  of  their  families'  traditional  activities.   In 
accordance  with  longstanding  tradition,  some  children  served 
apprenticeships  in  small  industries,  but  overall,  child  labor 
in  the  nonagricultural  sector  does  not  appear  to  be  widespread, 

e.  Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

In  1990  the  guaranteed  minimum  wage  for  adults  was  equivalent 
to  roughly  $75  per  month.   These  wages  barely  enabled  the 
average  family  to  meet  its  minimum  needs.   The  standard,  legal 
nonagricultural  workweek  in  Mauritania  cannot  exceed  either  40 
hours  or  6  days  without  overtime  compensation,  which  is  paid 
at  rates  that  are  graduated  according  to  the  number  of 
supplemental  hours  worked.   Reliable  data  on  actual  wage 
levels  is  scarce.   Enforcement  of  the  labor  laws  is  the 
responsibility  of  the  Labor  Inspectorate  of  the  Ministry  of 
Labor  but  in  practice  is  limited  by  the  shortage  of  qualified 
personnel . 


36-976  0-91-9 


242 


MAURITIUS 


Mauritius,  a  parliamentary  democracy  and  a  member  of  the 
Commonwealth  of  Nations,  is  governed  by  an  elected  prime 
minister,  a  council  of  ministers,  and  a  legislative  assembly. 
The  Governor  General,  with  largely  ceremonial  powers, 
represents  Queen  Elizabeth  II,  the  titular  Head  of  State. 
Elections  at  national  and  local  levels  take  place  at  regular 
intervals.   There  are  four  major  political  parties,  which 
reflect  a  range  of  ideological  views,  and  several  smaller 
parties.   Executive  power  has  changed  hands  twice  in  the  last 
8  years  through  fair  and  orderly  elections  supervised  by  an 
independent  commission.   Prime  Minister  Jugnauth's  coalition 
had  its  mandate  renewed  in  general  elections  in  August  1987; 
it  was  broadened  in  July  1990  when  he  signed  an  alliance 
agreement  with  his  former  opposition,  the  Mauritian  Militant 
Movement  (MMM) . 

A  paramilitary  Special  Mobile  Force  of  some  1,200  men  and  a 
240-man  Special  Support  Unit  are  responsible  for  internal 
security.   These  forces,  under  the  command  of  the  Commissioner 
of  Police,  are  apolitical,  well  trained,  and  backed  by  a 
general  duty  police  force  of  approximately  4,000  men. 

The  economy  is  based  on  export -oriented  manufacturing  (mainly 
textiles),  sugar,  and  tourism.   In  1989-90  the  economy  slowed 
as  a  result,  inter  alia,  of  labor  and  skills  shortages,  rising 
inflation,  and  two  cyclones,  which  reduced  production  in  the 
sugar  industry. 

The  Government  continued  to  demonstrate  respect  for  basic 
human  rights.   Political  and  civil  rights,  including  the 
freedoms  of  speech  and  press,  are  protected  under  the 
Mauritian  Constitution  and  respected  in  practice.   In  June  the 
Prime  Minister  established  the  Garrioch  Committee  to  conduct 
an  independent  review  of  several  controversial  laws  generally 
considered  to  be  repressive — the  Public  Order  Act  (POA),  the 
Industrial  Relations  Act  (IRA),  the  Newspapers  and  Periodicals 
Act,  and  the  Criminal  Code  Amendment  Act. 

RESPECT  FOR  HUMAN  RIGHTS 

Section  1  Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.  Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

There  were  no  reports  of  government-inspired  political  or 
extrajudicial  killings. 

b.  Disappearance 

There  were  no  reports  of  the  disappearance  of  persons  for 
political  causes. 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment 

Torture  and  inhuman  punishment  are  prohibited  by  law,  and 
there  were  no  reports  of  degrading  treatment  or  punishment. 
There  have  been  several  allegations  in  the  media  of  police 
mistreatment  of  suspects,  but  follow-up  investigations  failed 
to  confirm  any  abuses. 


243 


MAURITIUS 

d.  Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

There  have  been  no  reports  of  arbitrary  arrests  or  detentions 
since  the  early  1970 's.   Detained  persons  have  the  right  to  a 
judicial  determination  of  the  legality  of  their  detention.   In 
practice,  this  determination  is  usually  made  within  24  hours. 
Bail  is  commonly  granted. 

In  the  1989  arrests  of  Harish  Boodhoo,  the  well-known  leader 
of  the  Mauritian  Socialist  Party  (PSM),  and  Vedi  Ballah,  the 
editor  of  the  PSM  newspaper.  The  Socialist,  the  authorities 
held  them  for  3  weeks  and  1  week  respectively  before  bail  was 
granted.    They  were  charged  under  the  Public  Order  Act  with 
giving  out  false  information  that  could  cause  a  public 
disturbance  (see  Section  I.e.). 

Exile  is  legally  prohibited  and  not  practiced. 

e.  Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

Mauritius'  judicial  system,  modeled  on  that  of  Great  Britain, 
consists  of  the  Supreme  Court,  which  has  appellate  powers,  and 
a  series  of  lower  courts.   Final  appeal  may  be  made  to  the 
Queen's  Privy  Council  in  the  United  Kingdom  and  is  routinely 
made  in  the  cases  of  death  sentences.   About  50  percent  of 
Supreme  Court  rulings  referred  to  the  Privy  Council  are 
reversed.   There  are  no  political  or  military  courts. 

The  Governor  General,  in  consultation  with  the  Prime  Minister, 
nominates  the  Chief  Justice  and,  in  consultation  with  the 
Chief  Justice,  nominates  the  senior  puisne  (associate) 
judges.   The  Governor  General  nominates  other  judges  on  the 
advice  of  the  Judicial  and  Legal  Service  Commissions.   The 
legal  system  has  consistently  provided  fair,  public  trials  for 
those  charged  with  crimes.   Defendants  have  the  right  to 
private  or  court-appointed  counsel.   The  judiciary  is  also 
charged  under  the  Constitution  with  ensuring  that  new  laws  are 
consistent  with  democratic  practice. 

Recently  several  prominent  legal  specialists  have  been 
critical  of  government  interference  in  the  judicial  process 
and  have  warned  against  undermining  the  independence  of  the 
judiciary.   In  particular,  this  criticism  coincided  with  the 
Government's  handling  of  the  Boodhoo  and  Ballah  cases. 

There  were  no  political  prisoners  in  Mauritius  at  year's  end. 

f.  Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 
Correspondence 

The  sanctity  of  the  home  is  guaranteed  by  law  and  generally 
respected  in  practice.   The  search  of  personal  property  or 
premises  is  allowed  only  under  clearly  specified  conditions  by 
court  order  or  by  police  decision  if  an  illegal  act  has  been 
committed.   There  have  been  reports  from  reliable  sources  that 
the  Government's  intelligence  apparatus  occasionally  opens 
mail  and  carries  out  surveillance  of  local  opposition  leaders 
and  other  major  figures. 

Section  2   Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including: 

a.   Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

Freedom  of  speech  and  press  is  protected  by  the  Constitution 
and  by  local  tradition.   Debate  in  the  Legislative  Assembly  is 


244 


MAURITIUS 

lively,  and  parliamentarians  express  a  variety  of  views. 
Sixteen  privately  owned  daily,  weekly,  and  monthly  newspapers 
present  varying  political  viewpoints  and  freely  express 
partisan  views.   Newspapers  are  subject  only  to  the  legal 
constraints  of  libel  laws.   The  Government  owns  the  one 
television  and  two  radio  stations  (one  strictly  educational), 
which  broadcast  in  five  languages.   The  television  and  radio 
tend  to  be  less  than  objective  in  news  and  entertainment 
presentation,  and  opposition  politicians  accuse  the 
Broadcasting  Corporation  of  political  bias  in  its  local  news 
coverage.   Television  and  radio  broadcasts  are  also  easily 
received  from  the  nearby  island  of  Reunion  (a  French 
Department)  and  are  not  subject  to  interference  by  the 
Government.   However,  any  foreign  satellite  broadcasts  or 
programs  from  foreign  sources  that  are  deemed  controversial 
are  subject  to  approval  by  the  Council  of  Ministers  before 
transmission  on  local  television  or  radio. 

b.  Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

Mauritians  enjoy  the  right  to  form  associations,  including 
political  parties,  trade  unions,  and  religious  organizations, 
although  in  practice  all  such  organizations  need  government 
approval  in  order  to  operate  officially.   Mauritius  has  a 
multitude  of  such  private  organizations.   Political,  cultural, 
and  religious  assemblies  are  commonplace. 

Although  police  permission  is  reqiaired  for  holding 
demonstrations  and  mass  meetings,  such  permission  is  rarely 
refused.   The  registered  political  parties  freely  held  large 
public  rallies  during  the  campaign  for  the  August  1987  general 
elections,  the  October  1988  municipal  elections,  and  the  June 
1989  La  Caverne/Phoenix  by-election.   Political  parties  have 
been  freely  holding  political  rallies  and  meetings  since 
January  in  anticipation  of  new  general  elections.   All  have 
been  peaceful . 

c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

There  is  no  official  state  religion  in  Mauritius,  although 
Hindus  are  a  majority.   Hindus,  Christians,  Muslims, 
Buddhists,  and  others  openly  practice,  teach,  and  proselytize 
their  religions  without  prejudice.   All  religious  institutions 
receive  state  subsidies  in  proportion  to  their  memberships. 
There  is  no  state-sponsored  discrimination  against  any  ethnic 
or  religious  community.   The  Government  facilitates  the  travel 
of  Mauritians  who  make  the  hajj.   Foreign  missionaries  are  not 
allowed  to  enter  the  country  without  a  prior  request  from  a 
local  religious  organization. 

d.  Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

There  are  no  restrictions  on  full  freedom  of  movement  within 
the  country.   Foreign  travel  and  emigration  are  also 
unrestricted.   There  is  no  blanket  guarantee  of  repatriation, 
or  general  criteria  for  processing  applications  for 
repatriation;  applications  from  the  thousands  of  Mauritians 
abroad  are  handled  on  a  case-by-case  and  sometimes  arbitrary 
basis.   This  has  resurfaced  as  an  issue  of  political  debate  as 
more  Mauritians  abroad  seek  to  reclaim  their  Mauritian 
citizenship. 


245 


MAURITIUS 

Section  3  Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Govermment 

Citizens  have  the  right  and  ability  to  change  their  government 
through  democratic  means.   Mauritius  is  governed  by  a  freely 
elected,  unicameral  Legislative  Assembly,  with  executive 
direction  coming  from  a  Council  of  Ministers,  currently  headed 
by  Prime  Minister  Sir  Anerood  Jugnauth,  whose  Alliance 
coalition  won  elections  in  1983  and  1987.   On  July  19  the 
Alliance  was  broadened  when  Jugnauth  signed  an  electoral 
agreement  with  the  opposition  MMM  party,  which  formally 
entered  the  Government  on  September  26 .   The  Governor  General 
has  the  right  to  designate  the  person  charged  with  forming  a 
new  government  following  parliamentary  elections  or  in  a 
parliamentary  crisis.   Parliamentary,  municipal,  and  village 
council  elections  are  held  at  regular  intervals.   Voting  and 
running  for  office  are  rights  of  all  citizens  18  years  of  age 
and  over . 

In  the  Legislative  Assembly,  8  of  the  70  members  are  appointed 
through  a  complex  "best  loser"  system  designed  in  part  to 
ensure  that  all  ethnic  groups  are  adeqxiately  represented.   The 
governing  (three-party)  Alliance  coalition  now  controls  52  of 
the  70  seats.   The  four  major  political  parties  and  the 
smaller  parties  often  match  the  ethnicity  or  religion  of  their 
candidates  to  the  composition  of  particular  electoral 
constituencies.   The  MMM  controls  the  five  major 
municipalities . 

Section  4  Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

Nongovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

Several  local  human  rights  groups  monitor  developments  without 
governmental  restriction.   There  have  been  no  known  requests 
by  international  organizations  to  investigate  human  rights 
violations  in  Mauritius. 

Section  5   Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

Although  Mauritius  has  a  Hindu  majority,  the  country's  active 
press  and  strongly  egalitarian  traditions  mitigate  against 
discrimination  in  all  forms.   However,  tensions  based  on 
ethnicity  and  caste  do  exist. 

Traditionally,  women  in  Mauritius  have  occupied  a  subordinate 
role  in  society,  but  the  Government  has  tried  to  promote 
equality  by  eliminating  various  legal  restrictions,  e.g.,  in 
laws  dealing  with  emigration  and  inheritance  and,  in  1990, 
removing  a  legal  bar  to  women  serving  on  juries.   Nonetheless, 
women  still  face  de  facto  discrimination,  e.g.,  in  education. 
In  July  1989,  the  Government  appointed  "equal  employment 
opportunity  officers"  in  the  major  ministries  to  oversee 
women's  activities  and  to  ensure  that  the  promotion  of  the 
interests  of  women  is  taken  into  account. 

According  to  the  Ministry  of  Women's  Rights  and  Family 
Welfare,  physicians,  attorneys,  and  religious  and  charitable 
organizations,  violence  against  women  is  prevalent,  although 
no  reliable  statistics  are  gathered.   There  are  no  special 
provisions  in  Mauritian  law  concerning  family  violence. 
Police  authorities  are  generally  reluctant  to  get  involved  in 
cases  of  wife  beating.   Moreover,  in  June  1989  the  Ministry  of 
Women's  Rights  and  Family  Welfare  established  a  family 


246 


MAURITIUS 

counseling  service,  managed  by  the  National  Council  of  Women, 
one  of  whose  principal  tasks  is  to  provide  counseling  and 
legal  advice  in  cases  of  spouse  abuse.   Also,  a  Mauritian 
nongovernmental  organization,  S.O.S.  Women,  has  recently  been 
launched. 

Section  6  Worker  Rights 

a.  The  Right  of  Association 

Mauritius  has  an  active  trade  union  movement.   Almost  300 
unions  represent  about  100,000  workers,  more  than  one-fourth 
of  the  work  force.   Unions  are  free  to  organize  workers  in  all 
sectors,  including  the  export  processing  zone  (EPZ)  which 
employs  about  90,000  workers,  but  in  practice  there  are  a 
variety  of  constraints,  such  as  the  need  to  get  government 
approval  to  register  new  unions  and  difficult  access  to  EPZ 
workers.   Less  than  10  percent  of  EPZ  workers  are  believed  to 
be  unionized.   Unions  can  press  wage  demands,  establish  ties 
to  domestic  political  parties  and  international  organizations, 
and  address  political  issues.   Three  of  the  five  trade  union 
activists  who  ran  in  the  August  30,  1987,  general  elections 
were  elected  to  the  Legislative  Assembly  on  the  government 
slate . 

In  theory,  unions  have  the  right  to  strike.   However,  in  labor 
disputes,  the  Industrial  Relations  Act  (IRA)  of  1973  requires 
a  prestrike  21-day  cooling-off  period  followed  by  binding 
arbitration,  which  has  the  effect  of  making  most  strikes 
illegal.   Refusal  to  follow  IRA  procedures  in  a  mid-1988 
textile  plant  strike  led  to  the  imprisonment  of  three  union 
leaders  for  several  days.   Government-supported 
labor /management  negotiations  ultimately  led  to  the 
reemployment  of  most  of  the  striking  workers.   On  March  20, 
the  Central  Electricity  Board  Staff  Association  went  on  a 
3-day  illegal  strike  which  led  to  the  firing  of  14  strike 
leaders,  the  calling  in  of  the  Special  Mobile  Force  (SMF)  to 
operate  the  power  stations,  and  the  arrival  of  an  Indian  team 
to  train  the  SMF.   Ultimately,  all  but  the  strike  leader, 
Pierre  Penny,  were  reemployed. 

One  leading  federation  actively  supports  the  MMM  party  and  is 
affiliated  with  the  Communist-controlled  World  Federation  of 
Trade  Unions.   The  largest  confederation,  the  Mauritian  Labor 
Congress,  is  a  member  of  the  International  Confederation  of 
Free  Trade  Unions. 

b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

While  the  right  of  association  is  guaranteed  by  law,  the 
collective  bargaining  process  has  been  distorted  in 
Mauritius.   The  IRA  addresses  collective  bargaining  and  allows 
it  in  theory,  but  in  practice  its  provisions  for  establishing 
wages  bear  little  resemblance  to  the  traditional  collective 
bargaining  process,  and  the  Government's  restraints  on  that 
process  render  it  ineffective. 

The  Government  has  established  a  National  Remuneration  Board 
(NRB)  whose  chairman  is  appointed  by  the  Minister  of  Labor. 
The  NRB  establishes  minimum  wages  for  26  categories  of  private 
sector  workers  (sugar,  tea,  transport,  etc.)  which  apply 
equally  to  workers  in  the  Export  Processing  Zones  (EPZ). 
Although  originally  established  to  set  minimum  wages  for 
nonunion  workers,  the  NRB  has  broadened  its  powers  and  now 
issues  remuneration  orders  that  establish  minimum  wages. 


247 


MAURITIUS 

bonuses,  housing  and  transportation  allowances,  and  other 
benefits  for  almost  all  private  sector  workers.   About  85 
percent  of  all  private  sector  workers  (including  unionized 
workers)  are  covered  by  NRB  orders.   Employers  and  unions  are 
free  to  negotiate  wages  and  benefits  above  the  minimums 
established  by  the  NRB,  but  this  is  rare. 

Wages  and  benefits  for  civil  servants  are  established  by  the 
Pay  Research  Bureau  (PRB)  on  the  basis  of  the  annual  Chesworth 
Report  recommendations.  NRB  remuneration  orders  set  minimum 
wages  by  sector  but  also  establish  a  wage  structure  based  on 
length  of  service  and  job  classification.  NRB  orders  thus  set 
wages  for  skilled  and  experienced  workers  whose  earnings  are 
well  above  the  minimum  wage.  The  PRB  functions  in  a  similar 
way  for  the  civil  service. 

The  Government  has  also  established  a  tripartite  committee, 
including  employer  and  trade  union  representatives,  which 
meets  once  a  year  and  is  chaired  by  the  Minister  of  Finance. 
It  may  recommend  only  wage  increases  based  on  inflation.   Its 
recommendations  are  not  always  unanimous,  however,  and  the 
Government  makes  its  decision  on  the  basis  of  all  the 
information  it  receives. 

The  International  Labor  Organization  (ILO)  Committee  of 
Experts  (COE)  again  in  1990  noted  that  the  IRA  does  not  give 
workers'  organizations  sufficient  protection  against  acts  of 
interference  as  provided  for  by  ILO  Convention  98  on  the  right 
to  organize  and  collective  bargaining.   The  Garrioch  Committee 
established  by  the  Prime  Minister  in  June  is  reviewing  the  IRA 
and  has  asked  for  recommendations  from  trade  unions. 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

Forced  or  compulsory  labor  is  prohibited  by  law  and  is  not 
practiced.   The  COE,  however,  noted  again  in  1990  that 
sections  of  the  IRA,  which  empower  the  Minister  of  Labor  to 
refer  any  industrial  dispute  to  compulsory  arbitration, 
enforceable  by  penalties  involving  compulsory  labor,  are  in 
conflict  with  ILO  Convention  105  on  the  abolition  of  forced 
labor . 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

The  minimum  work  age  for  employment  of  children  is  15.   The 
Ministry  of  Labor  is  responsible  for  enforcing  child  labor 
laws.   In  practice,  there  is  minimal  enforcement  of  these 
laws,  especially  in  EPZ-related  industries  where  a  labor 
shortage  exists. 

e.  Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

Conditions  of  employment,  including  wage  and  leave  conditions, 
are  generally  sufficient  to  afford  an  acceptable  standard  of 
living  for  workers  in  the  agricultural,  service,  and 
manufacturing  sectors.   However,  the  current  statutory  rate 
paid  for  unskilled  labor,  $12  per  week  during  the  first  year 
and  $14  per  week  thereafter,  is  barely  sufficient  to  provide  a 
worker  with  a  minimum  standard  of  living,  and  much  depends  on 
the  additional  benefits  offered.   The  Government  mandates 
minimum  wage  increases  each  year  based  on  inflation. 

A  maximum  workweek  of  45  hours  is  allowed.   Excessive  overtime 
continues  to  be  a  problem  in  the  EPZ .   Following  complaints 
that  EPZ  employers  imposed  long  hours  of  overtime  on 


248 


MAURITIUS 

employees — about  10  to  20  hours  per  week,  making  for  a  55-  to 
65-hour  workweek — the  Government  established  a  committee  to 
address  these  issues,  but  by  the  end  of  1990  it  still  had 
issued  no  report.   In  addition,  some  EPZ  employers  still 
require  women  to  work  at  night. 

The  Government  sets  health  and  safety  standards,  and 

conditions  are  inspected  by  Ministry  of  Labor  officials. 

Enforcement  is  minimal  and  ineffective  due  to  the  small  number 
of  inspectors. 


249 


MOZAMBIQUE 

In  1990  the  Government  of  Mozambique  made  a  transition  from  a 
one-party  state  under  strict  control  of  the  Front  for  the 
Liberation  of  Mozambique,  or  FRELIMO,  to  a  multiparty  system. 
This  change  was  formalized  in  a  new  democratic  constitution, 
which  went  into  effect  on  November  30.   The  change  was  a 
response  to  growing  public  pressures  for  political  and 
economic  reform  and  part  of  a  strategy  to  end  the  civil 
conflict  with  RENAMO. 

The  new  Constitution  commits  the  state  to  political  pluralism 
and  direct  multiparty  elections  of  the  President  and 
legislature  in  1991.   To  this  end,  new  political  parties  were 
already  beginning  to  form  by  the  end  of  1990,  although  the  law 
governing  parties  had  not  yet  been  promulgated.   Under  the 
Constitution,  effective  power  will  continue  to  be  concentrated 
in  the  hands  of  the  President  and  top  government  officials, 
but  the  National  Assembly  and  the  Supreme  Court  are  to  be 
given  greater  responsibilities.   A  number  of  individual  rights 
are  provided  for,  including  freedom  of  speech,  assembly, 
religion,  and  the  press.   FRELIMO  will  no  longer  share  power 
with  the  Government  or  serve  as  the  leading  party,  although  it 
will  be  allowed  to  retain  its  influence  until  elections. 

Since  the  late  1970 's,  the  Government  has  been  under  attack 
from  an  insurgent  group,  the  Mozambican  National  Resistance, 
or  RENAMO.   While  direct  peace  talks  between  the  Government 
and  RENAMO  began  in  June,  fighting  continued  to  take  place  in 
all  10  provinces  throughout  1990.   On  December  1,  the  two 
sides  signed  a  partial  cease-fire  dealing  with  two  rail 
corridors.   Most  Mozambican  policymakers  now  agree  that  the 
South  African  Government  has  ceased  all  support  to  RENAMO, 
although  some  nongovernmental  groups  may  still  continue  to 
supply  RENAMO  from  South  African  territory. 

The  security  forces  include  the  Armed  Forces  of  Mozambique 
(FPLM) ,  numbering  about  60,000  soldiers,  a  people's  militia, 
and  the  Mozambican  National  Security  Service  (SNASP)  which  has 
frequently  committed  human  rights  abuses.   By  far,  the  largest 
number  of  abuses,  and  the  most  severe  cases,  come  from  RENAMO, 
which  claims  to  have  25,000  men  under  arms  and  an  additional 
3,000  trainees.   These  forces  have  been  the  major  source  of 
human  rights  abuses.   Troops  from  Zimbabwe  and  Malawi  are 
assisting  government  forces,  primarily  to  keep  open 
transportation  corridors.   The  stationing  of  these  foreign 
troops  in  Mozambique  is  one  of  the  most  important  issues  in 
the  peace  talks.   In  1990  the  Soviet  Union  withdrew  most  of 
its  military  advisers. 

Approximately  80  percent  of  the  population  is  employed  in 
agriculture,  mostly  on  the  small-scale,  semisubsistence 
level.   Major  sources  of  foreign  exchange  are  agricultural 
products,  especially  cashews,  tea,  sugar,  and  cotton.   The  new 
Constitution  endorses  a  market-oriented  economy.   The 
Government  has  continued  to  adhere  to  a  strict  economic  reform 
plan,  divesting  itself  of  failed  state  farms,  privatizing 
virtually  all  small  enterprises,  and  radically  altering  price 
and  regulatory  incentives  to  encourage  private  enterprise. 
Growth  projections  have  been  revised  downward  to  3 . 3  percent, 
partly  because  of  the  damage  caused  by  the  civil  conflict. 
RENAMO  deliberately  attacks  economic  targets.   In  some  areas, 
the  prevailing  anarchy  has  led  to  the  total  breakdown  of 


250 


MOZAMBIQUE 

internal  trade.   A  combination  of  war  and  unfavorable  weather 
has  disrupted  food  production  to  the  point  that  a  third  of  the 
nation's  population — approximately  5  million  people — is 
thought  to  be  dependent  on  international  food  aid. 

Human  rights  remained  circumscribed  in  1990,  although  the 
constitutional  changes  provided  the  potential  for  significant 
improvements.   The  most  blatant  abuses  of  basic  human  rights 
occurred  as  a  direct  result  of  the  continuing  civil  conflict. 
Widespread  reports  of  massacres  directed  against  civilians, 
kidnapings,  torture,  and  looting  continued  throughout  the 
year.   The  vast  majority  of  these  atrocities  were  attributed 
to  RENAWO,  but  some  were  also  attributed  to  government 
forces.   Other  major  human  rights  concerns  included:   harsh 
prison  conditions;  the  use  of  arbitrary,  incomunicado 
detention,  especially  by  the  SNASP  (the  security  police); 
incidents  of  military  indiscipline  and  bullying  of  civilians; 
and  apparent  government  crackdowns  on  journalists  early  in  the 
year.   Restrictions  on  the  rights  of  assembly  and  association 
and  on  the  right  of  citizens  to  change  their  government 
remained  in  effect  through  the  end  of  November . 

While  the  new  Constitution  represented  a  major  step  forward 
toward  safeguarding  basic  rights,  it  also  contains  a  number  of 
quali'fying  clauses  which  subordinate  the  new  freedoms  to 
"national  security"  and  "foreign  policy  interests."   Hence, 
future  progress  will  depend  on  the  willingness  of  the 
Government  to  implement  fully  these  reforms. 

RESPECT  FOR  HUMAN  RIGHTS 

Section  1  Respect  for  the  Integrity  of  the  Person,  Including 
Freedom  from: 

a.  Political  and  Other  Extrajudicial  Killing 

There  were  no  known  or  suspected  cases  of  government  targeting 
persons  for  political  killings  in  1990.   Both  sides  were 
responsible  for  the  deaths  of  civilians  in  the  course  of  their 
conflict,  with  the  great  majority  of  the  killings  attributed 
to  RENAMO  forces  (see  Section  l.g.). 

b.  Disappearance 

There  were  no  reports  of  government-perpetrated 
disappearances.   However,  there  are  thousands  missing  due  to 
the  conflict,  often  as  a  result  of  kidnapings  in  areas 
affected  by  the  war.   RENAMO,  in  particular,  regularly  holds 
civilians  against  their  will,  often  employing  them  as  porters 
or  forcibly  impressing  them. 

c.  Torture  and  Other  Cruel,  Inhuman,  or  Degrading 
Treatment  or  Punishment 

Both  government  and  RENAMO  forces  tortured  prisoners  and 
civilians,  although  most  reports  were  of  RENAMO  abuses.   There 
were  numerous  reports  that  government  troops  and  security 
personnel  beat  and  extorted  money  from  civilians  in 
prosecuting  the  war.   Several  soldiers  were  convicted  in  1990 
for  abuses.   Citizens  complained  about  this  during  nationwide 
debates.   There  were  other  beatings  not  related  to  the  war. 
In  November  a  Beira  journalist  wrote  that  he  saw  policemen 
beating  two  robbery  suspects  and  that  he  too,  was  briefly 
detained  when  he  protested. 


251 


MOZAMBIQUE 

RENAMO ' S  attacks  on  civilians  continued  unabated  in  1990. 
According  to  many  reports,  RENAMO  beat  and  mutilated  people 
and  forced  family  members  to  witness  or  participate  in  the 
tortures  of  their  relatives.   Former  RENAMO  soldiers  claimed 
that  threats  of  beating  and  torture  were  used  to  keep  coerced 
recruits  from  escaping. 

Prison  conditions  remained  very  poor.   The  prison  system 
continues  to  operate  with  very  limited  resources,  as  do  most 
government  entities.   Since  1988  the  Government  has  allowed 
the  International  Committee  of  the  Red  Cross  (ICRC)  access  to 
the  prisons  where  national  security  prisoners,  both  those 
already  convicted  and  those  awaiting  trial,  are  held.   During 
most  of  1990,  RENAMO  permitted  ICRC  sporadic  access  to  areas 
under  its  control . 

d.   Arbitrary  Arrest,  Detention,  or  Exile 

The  law  requires  that  in  most  cases  detainees  be  charged  or 
released  within  30  days.   However,  persons  accused  of  the  most 
serious  crimes  may  be  detained  for  up  to  84  days  without  being 
formally  charged  or  investigated.   With  court  approval,  such 
detainees  may  then  be  held  for  two  additional  periods  of  84 
days  while  the  police  complete  their  investigation.   While 
detained,  persons  have  the  constitutional  right  to'  counsel  and 
to  contact  relatives  and  friends.   In  some  cases  detainees  may 
be  released  from  prison  while  the  investigation  proceeds,  but 
the  bail  system  in  Mozambique  remains  ill-defined.   The  law 
provides  that  if  the  prescribed  period  for  investigation  has 
been  completed  and  no  charges  have  been  brought,  the  detainee 
must  be  released.   In  practice,  however,  this  is  often 
overlooked,  in  part  because  of  the  severe  lack  of 
administrative  resources  and  trained  lawyers. 

The  SNASP  organized  under  the  Ministry  of  National  Security 
has  the  power  to  arrest  persons  accused  of  political  and 
economic  crimes  against  the  State,  such  as  espionage  or 
sabotage.   Security  detainees  have  the  same  rights  as  other 
prisoners:   to  contact  a  lawyer  and  to  be  charged  or  released 
within  a  set  period  of  time.   In  practice,  these  guarantees 
are  also  often  overlooked,  although  reliable  sources  report 
that  the  Government  is  making  a  strong  effort  to  reduce  the 
backlog  of  prisoners  awaiting  trial.   The  SNASP  can  order 
detention  for  indefinite  periods;  under  this  system,  many 
prisoners  are  never  brought  before  a  court.   While  lawyers' 
access  to  security  prisoners  is  much  improved  since  it  was 
first  allowed  in  1987,  these  detainees  are  often  denied 
contact  with  family  and  friends  for  long  periods  of  time  and 
did  not  have  the  right  to  challenge  the  legality  of  their 
detention  under  the  old  constitution  which  remained  in  effect 
through  November . 

The  SNASP ' s  legal  authority  is  reduced  under  the  new 
Constitution,  which  mandates  that  preventive  detention  be 
limited  for  all  prisoners,  and  specifies  that  only  a  judge  may 
determine  the  validity  and  the  continuation  of  a  detainee's 
imprisonment.   All  citizens,  including  security  prisoners,  are 
to  have  the  right  to  challenge  the  legality  of  their 
imprisonment . 

Nobody  has  ever  been  formally  exiled  from  Mozambique,  although 
the  effect  of  the  rigid  one-party  State  drove  many  persons 
into  exile.   The  new  Constitution  expressly  prohibits  the 
expulsion  of  any  Mozambican  citizen.   The  Government  has 
publicly  invited  self-exiled  Mozambicans  to  return  and 


252 


MOZAMBIQUE 

participate  in  the  developing  multiparty  system.   By  the  end 
of  the  year  only  a  few  had  done  so. 

e.  Denial  of  Fair  Public  Trial 

Mozambique  has  two  complementary  justice  systems:   the 
civil/criminal,  composed  of  the  judiciary  under  the  Ministry 
of  Interior;  and  the  military  justice  system,  which  includes 
the  SNASP,  under  the  Ministry  of  National  Security.   The 
latter  has  jurisdiction  over  most  cases  involving  crimes 
committed  by  military  personnel  and  crimes  by  civilians  that 
adversely  affect  the  military.   The  Minister  of  Justice 
appoints  judges  at  the  district  and  provincial  level,  while 
the  President  appoints  judges  to  the  Supreme  Court. 

Since  the  1988  est'ablishment  of  the  Supreme  Court  and  the 
abolition  of  the  revolutionary  military  tribunal,  persons 
accused  of  crimes  against  the  security  of  the  people  and  the 
State  (i.e.,  the  majority  of  political  prisoners)  have  been 
tried  by  provincial  courts  under  standard  criminal  judicial 
procedures.   All  accused  persons,  whether  they  are  arrested  on 
security  or  criminal  charges,  have  the  right  of  appeal.   Under 
the  new  Constitution,  defendants  enjoy  the  presumption  of 
innocence  and  the  right  to  be  represented  by  legal  counsel 
regardless  of  their  ability  to  pay  for  a  lawyer.   Trials  in 
the  regular  civil  and  criminal  court  system  are  generally 
public  and  fair,  but  a  large  backlog  of  cases,  combined  with  a 
severe  shortage  of  trained  lawyers,  has  resulted  in  long 
waiting  periods  before  cases  are  brought  to  trial.   A  judge 
may  order  a  trial  closed  because  of  national  security 
interests  or  to  protect  the  privacy  of  the  plaintiff  in  cases 
concerning  rape. 

In  addition  to  the  regular  people's  courts  at  the  provincial 
and  district  levels,  there  are,  at  the  local  level,  customary 
courts  which  handle  matters  such  as  estate  and  divorce  cases. 
The  proceedings  are  usually  conducted  in  public  by  a  trained 
representative  of  the  Ministry  of  Justice,  assisted  by  two  or 
four  popularly  elected  lay  judges  instructed  to  exercise 
common  sense  and  to  apply  locally  accepted  principles. 

The  military  crimes  and  military  tribunal  law  which  took 
effect  in  1988  established  a  nationwide  system  of  brigade 
courts  and  provincial  military  courts  and  specified 
military-related  crimes.   The  program  is  not  yet  fully 
implemented,  owing  to  the  lack  of  qualified  personnel. 

The  number  of  political  and  security  detainees  awaiting  trial 
as  distinguished  from  those  who  had  been  convicted  was  unknown 
at  year's  end.   There  were  an  estimated  700  security  prisoners 
at  the  end  of  1990.   It  is  unknown  how  many  of  these  were 
awaiting  trial.   Most  of  these  persons  are  suspected  of 
sympathizing  with,  or  committing  crimes  on  behalf  of,  RENAMO. 
There  are  no  known  prominent  prisoners  awaiting  trial,  and  no 
prominent  prisoners  were  released  in  1990. 

f.  Arbitrary  Interference  with  Privacy,  Family,  Home,  or 
Correspondence 

In  areas  of  active  insurgency,  homes  are  entered  at  will  by 
security  and  police  forces.   Civilians  living  in  these  areas 
are  often  moved  to  government-protected  villages.   The  new 
Constitution  provides  citizens  the  right  to  have  "their  honor, 
good  name  and  reputation  respected. .. and  to  shelter  their 
private  life."   The  new  Constitution  specifies  further  that 


253 


MOZAMBIQUE 

membership  in  any  association  is  to  be  voluntary;  there  were 
no  known  cases  of  coerced  membership  in  political  or  other 
organizations.   It  has  been  widely  assumed  that  surveillance 
devices  are  employed  to  monitor  local  and  international 
telecominunications  systems  and  that  mail  is  periodically 
inspected.   The  new  Constitution,  however,  expressly  prohibits 
such  surveillance. 

g.   Use  of  Excessive  Force  and  Violations  of  Humanitarian 
Law  in  Internal  Conflicts 

Despite  the  initiation  of  direct  peace  talks  in  midyear,  all 
10  provinces  suffered  RENAMO  attacks  in  1990,  the  15th  year  of 
the  civil  war.   Both  government  (FPLM)  and  RENAMO  forces  were 
again  responsible  for  violations  of  humanitarian  law  in  1990, 
although  RENAMO  abuses  continued  to  be  much  more  widespread 
and  systematic.   Attacks  against  civilians  were  reported 
freqiaently,  and,  given  the  remoteness  of  much  of  the 
countryside,  many  more  attacks  undoubtedly  went  unreported. 
The  conflict  has  cost  an  estimated  500,000  lives  and  left 
millions  homeless  and  living  on  the  edge  of  starvation. 

There  is  no  estimate  of  the  number  of  killings  in  1990  by 
government  forces,  but  there  have  been  credible  reports, 
including  allegations  by  refugees,  of  abuses  by  government 
forces.   In  March  credible  reports  indicated  that  an  FPLM  unit 
based  in  Zambezia  Province  in  central  Mozambique  abducted  an 
influencial  pro-RENAMO  chief  from  his  home  and  later  killed 
him  at  the  military  barracks.   In  June  a  group  of  FPLM 
soldiers  rioted  in  a  Maputo  neighborhood,  looting  and 
vandalizing  several  businesses  and  beating  a  dozen  civilians. 
In  the  wake  of  a  September-  November  offensive  in  Zambezia 
Province,  civilian  victims  and  humanitarian  organizations 
reported  that  government  forces  required  civilians  to  either 
leave  their  homes  or  be  treated  as  suspected  guerrillas. 
Civilians  were  then  herded  into  camps,  which  often  did  not 
have  adequate  provisions  for  feeding  large  numbers  of  people. 
In  some  instances,  government  forces  reportedly  burned  houses, 
intimidated,  and  killed  some  of  the  civilians  who  resisted. 

The  President  and  other  senior  officials  publicly  and 
repeatedly  emphasized  the  need  for  the  security  and  military 
forces  to  respect  the  population.   Many  citizens  took 
advantage  of  the  nationwide,  grassroots  debate  about  the  new 
Constitution  to  complain  publicly  that  FPLM  soldiers  often 
bully  and  abuse  civilians.   Many  civilians  complained  that 
abusive  acts  went  unpunished.   However,  the  local  media 
publicized  several  accounts  of  legal  charges  being  brought 
against  undisciplined  soldiers.   Since  1988,  about  30  FPLM 
officers  have  participated  in  ICRC-sponsored  courses  in 
humanitarian  law. 

Atrocities  by  RENAMO  against  defenseless  civilians  have  been 
well  documented  by  governmental  and  nongovernmental  sources. 
In  1990  there  were  numerous  credible  reports  that  RENAMO  still 
executes  noncombatants  after  attacks  on  villages,  often 
hacking  or  burning  people  to  death,  apparently  to  intimidate 
would-be  resisters.   Such  assassinations  are  especially  aimed 
at  any  representative  of  the  Government,  including  party 
officials,  schoolteachers,  and  health  workers.   In  one 
February  attack  on  a  village  in  Gaza  Province,  21  civilians 
were  killed,  and  several  survivors  were  mutilated,  one 
sexually.   An  additional  11  civilians  were  hacked  to  death  in 


254 


MOZAMBIQUE 

a  Maputo  Province  massacre  in  August.  RENAMO  attacked  trains 
carrying  migrant  mineworkers  from  South  Africa  three  times  in 
1990,  killing  66,  16,  and  4  people  respectively. 

Numerous  other  victims'  accounts  accuse  RENAMO  of 
systematically  kidnaping  civilians,  including  children,  some 
in  their  early  teens,  who  are  then  forced  to  bear  arms  for 
RENAMO.   RENAMO  also  compels  civilians,  after  an  attack  on 
their  settlement,  to  carry  confiscated  items  back  to  RENAMO 
camps;  prisoners  too  weak  to  keep  up  are  sometimes  killed. 
Prisoners  allegedly  are  forced  to  cultivate  food  for  the 
insurgents,  and  violence  against  women,  including  rape,  is 
common.   RENAMO' s  policy  of  deliberate  destruction  of  economic 
targets,  including  factories,  food  crops,  and  transportation 
networks,  has  worsened  famine  conditions  in  some  areas, 
particularly  in  Zambezia  Province.   Industry  was  particularly 
hard  hit  by  frequent  sabotage  against  the  electric  power  grid 
during  the  first  half  of  the  year.   Relief  convoys,  health 
workers,  and  clinics  were  frequently  targets  of  attack. 

Section  2  Respect  for  Civil  Liberties,  Including: 

a.   Freedom  of  Speech  and  Press 

The  new  Constitution  provides  for  freedom  of  expression  and 
the  press,  but  these  freedoms  may  be  restricted  for  reasons  of 
respect  for  the  Constitution  and  for  human  dignity,  and  for 
foreign  policy  and  national  defense  considerations.   The 
extent  of  the  restrictions  remains  undetermined  pending  the 
approval  of  additional  implementing  legislation. 

In  1990  the  Government  encouraged  citizens  to  speak  freely  on 
political  issues,  particularly  in  the  forums  discussing  the 
new  Constitution.   Some  citizens  voiced  harsh  criticism  of  the 
political  system,  and  their  comments  frequently,  if 
selectively,  were  reported  verbatim  in  the  press.   There  was 
no  evidence  that  anyone  was  penalized  for  his  or  her  comments. 

Despite  a  vigorous  debate  about  press  freedom  in  public  and 
party  forums,  and  despite  a  specific  reference  to  press 
freedom  in  the  new  Constitution,  this  freedom  remained 
restricted  in  1990.   The  print  media  are  largely  owned  by 
private  entities.   There  is  no  formal  prior  censorship  in 
Mozambique,  and  the  media  occasionally  run  hard-hitting 
stories  on  topics  including  corruption,  official  incompetence, 
and  even  incidents  of  military  indiscipline. 

Nonetheless,  journalists  are  held  to  an  unwritten  and 
sometimes  fluid  set  of  guidelines.   According  to  well-informed 
sources,  disagreements  between  the  Government  and  the  press  on 
editorial  policy  led  to  the  dismissal  of  a  newspaper  editor 
and  the  resignation  of  the  broadcast  news  director  early  in 
1990.   In  addition,  a  Voice  of  America  (VOA)  stringer  was 
expelled  for  refusing  to  reveal  sources  in  a  story  aired  by 
VOA  about  anticipated  public  protests.   Journalists, 
complaining  that  the  ill-defined  restrictions  will  result  in 
self-censorship,  petitioned  forcefully  in  1990  for  legislation 
and  constitutional  guarantees  protecting  the  press. 

Given  the  problems  of  poverty,  illiteracy,  and  the  shortage  of 
hard  currency,  the  market  for  books  and  publications  is 
small.   However,  some  foreign  publications,  including 
independent  Western  news  magazines,  do  occasionally  appear  in 
bookstores.   Church  groups  circulate  newsletters  and  pastoral 


255 


MOZAMBIQUE 

letters.   Western  journalists  (including  Americans)  are 
welcome  in  Mozambique,  and  the  Government  assists  in  their 
visits.   Regular  foreign  and  radio  broadcasts  and  South 
African  and  Swazi  television  are  received  without  interference 
or  restrictions. 

Academic  freedom  is  not  formally  circumscribed,  but  there  are 
tacitly  accepted  limits  to  academic  discussions  and 
publications . 

b.  Freedom  of  Peaceful  Assembly  and  Association 

Unless  held  under  the  FRELIMO  banner,  organized  demonstrations 
were  still  comparatively  rare  in  1990.   However,  in  January 
and  February,  wildcat  strikers  were  allowed  to  form  ad  hoc 
committees  and  present  their  demands  as  long  as  they  remained 
nonviolent  (see  Section  6.a.). 

Freedom  of  assembly  and  association,  provided  for  under  both 
the  original  and  the  new  Constitutions,  have  been  restricted 
in  practice  through  1990.   These  restrictions,  however, 
appeared  to  be  easing  significantly  in  the  final  months  of  the 
year.   While  FRELIMO  remained  the  only  legal  political 
organization  in  1990,  opponents  took  the  first  organizational 
steps  to  form  new  parties,  with  no  apparent  interference  from 
the  Government.   Two  new  political  parties,  UNAMO  and  PALMO, 
have  full-time  party  representatives  in  the  capital.   At  the 
end  of  the  year,  "mass  democratic  organizations,"  including 
the  Mozambican  Women's  Organization  and  the  sole  labor  union 
confederation,  severed  their  formal  ties  to  FRELIMO. 

Political  parties  must  register  with  the  Government.   However, 
nonpolitical  association  appears  to  be  increasing.   A  major 
initiative  began  in  1990  to  establish  a  "Foundation  for 
Community  Development,"  which  would  support  the  growth  of 
indigenous  Mozambican  nongovernmental  organizations.   There  is 
also  a  strong  new  interest  in  business  and  professional 
organizations;  a  businesswomen's  association  and  a  Maputo 
Province  private  farmers'  association  held  founding  meetings 
in  1990. 

c.  Freedom  of  Religion 

Both  the  original  and  the  new  Constitutions  mandate  strict 
separation  of  church  and  state,  and  provide  for  the  freedom  to 
"practice  or  not  practice  a  religion."   Both,  however,  also 
specify  that  all  acts  of  religious  institutions  should  conform 
to  the  laws  of  the  State.   The  new  Constitution  gives 
religious  institutions  the  right  to  own  property  and  allows 
private  entities,  including  presumably  religious  institutions, 
to  operate  schools.   The  Government  does  not  require  religious 
organizations  or  missionaries  to  register,  and  foreign 
missionaries  are  readily  granted  visas. 

Relations  between  the  Government  and  religious  organizations, 
tense  in  the  early  years  after  independence,  continued  to 
improve  in  1990.   The  Government  encouraged  leaders  of  the 
major  Christian  and  Moslem  organizations  to  participate  in  all 
levels  of  the  nationwide  debate  on  the  new  Constitution. 
Numerous  leaders  did  participate  in  those  debates.   There  was 
no  movement,  however,  toward  drafting  the'  long-promised  law  on 
religious  liberty.   The  Government  has  agreed  in  principle  to 
return  many  properties  expropriated  from  religious 
organizations  in  the  postindependence  period.   While  some 


256 


MOZAMBIQUE 

properties  have  been  returned  to  their  original  owners,  such 
as  the  Maputo  synagogue  late  in  1989,  others,  such  as  the 
Catholic  seminary  in  Maputo,  are  still  in  government  hands. 

d.   Freedom  of  Movement  Within  the  Country,  Foreign 
Travel,  Emigration,  and  Repatriation 

As  an  emergency  security  measure  and  to  prevent  evasion  of 
conscription,  the  Government  still  requires  all  citizens  to 
obtain  travel  permits  from  the  local  authorities.   Such 
directives,  often  little  enforced  in  practice  because  of 
limited  administrative  control  and  resources  in  the 
countryside,  are  in  conflict  with  the  new  Constitution,  which 
guarantees  freedom  to  travel  within  the  country  and  abroad. 
Moreover,  the  Government  still  required  people  to  move  from 
areas  designated  as  security  zones.   Human  rights  monitors  are 
concerned  that  large  numbers  of  people  are  kept  in  government- 
protected  villages  for  excessive  periods  of  time,  even  though 
such  villages  are  frequently  not  equipped 'to  sustain  their 
population. 

There  is  no  exile  or  revocation  of  Mozambican  citizenship  for 
political  reasons  under  the  new  Constitution. 

Given  the  civil  conflict,  there  are  few  refugees  from  other 
countries  in  Mozambique.   At  the  end  of  1990,  only  358 
refugees  received  material  aid  from  the  United  Nations  High 
Commissioner  for  Refugees  (UNHCR)  with  the  full  cooperation  of 
the  Government.   There  were  no  reported  cases  in  which 
refugees  have  been  forced  to  return  to  countries  where  they 
have  a  well-founded  fear  of  persecution. 

In  contrast,  security  conditions  have  forced  over  1.4  million 
Mozambicans  to  leave  their  homes  for  refuge  in  neighboring 
countries.   According  to  recent  estimates,  900,000  Mozambican 
refugees  are  in  Malawi.   Other  receiving  countries  include 
Zimbabwe,  with  175,000  refugees;  Tanzania,  72,000;  Zambia, 
20,000;  and  Swaziland,  20,000.   Another  300,000  are  thought  to 
be  in  South  Africa,  although  this  is  only  an  approximation, 
and  does  not  distinguish  between  economic  migrants,  displaced 
persons,  and  refugees. 

An  estimated  1.4  million  are  internal  refugees,  living  mainly 
in  displaced  persons  camps  scattered  throughout  the  country. 
In  these  camps,  they  receive  emergency  aid  from  the  Government 
and  from  the  international  community. 

The  Government  readily  accepts  and  aids  repatriates.   An 
estimated  234,000  refugees  have  returned  to  Mozambique,  the 
majority  on  their  own  initiative,  and  the  balance  through 
UNHCR  voluntary  repatriation  programs  coordinated  with 
neighboring  governments.   South  Africa  routinely  repatriates 
undocumented  Mozambicans,  although  they  have  occasionally 
allowed  the  temporary  entry  of  villagers  who  are  fleeing 
RENAMO  attack.   Zimbabwe  has  forcibly  repatriated  refugees  in 
the  past,  but  this  practice  seems  to  be  easing;  there  are 
indications  that  Zimbabwe  has  also  turned  back  some  asylum 
seekers  at  the  point  of  entry.   The  Government  protested  these 
involuntary  repatriations  but  was  unable  to  prevent  them. 

Section  3   Respect  for  Political  Rights:   The  Right  of  Citizens 
to  Change  Their  Government 

Citizens  did  not  have  the  right  to  change  their  government  in 
1990.   However,  while  the  new  Constitution  has  yet  to  be 


257 


MOZAMBIQUE 

tested,  and  the  implementing  legislation,  such  as  the  law  on 
political  parties  and  the  electoral  law,  has  yet  to  be 
completed  and  ratified,  the  groundwork  was  being  laid  for 
competitive  multiparty  elections  in  1991. 

The  original,  postindependence  constitution  established  a 
system  that  effectively  allowed  the  President,  the  FRELIMO 
Politburo,  and  the  Council  of  Ministers  to  control 
policymaking  and  implementation.   The  President  had  extensive 
appointive  powers  in  both  his  government  and  party  roles.   He 
set  policy  guidelines  in  consultation  with  the  12-person 
Politburo  and  the  164-member  Central  Committee  of  FRELIMO, 
whose  members  were  elected  at  party  congresses  at  5-year 
intervals.   The  new  Constitution  mandates  elimination  of  the 
leading  role  of  the  FRELIMO  party,  although  the  FRELIMO- 
dominated  Government  remained  in  office  pending  new 
elections.   The  President  no  longer  need  be  a  FRELIMO  member 
and  will  not  be  selected  by  the  party  Central  Committee. 
Instead,  the  President  and  legislature  are  to  be  selected  by 
direct,  universal  adult  suffrage  by  secret  ballot  in  elections 
scheduled  at  5-year  intervals,  starting  in  1991. 

The  new  Constitution  calls  for  a  strong  Presidency,  but  it 
also  enhances  the  legislature's  strength  by  allowing  a 
two-thirds  majority  to  override  what  is  essentially  a 
presidential  veto.   It  also  provides  for  constitutional  review 
for  the  first  time  in  history  by  the  Supreme  Court,  pending 
establishment  of  a  separate  Constitutional  Tribunal. 

The  status  of  new  political  parties  remained  unclear  at  the 
end  of  1990.   The  Constitution  provides  for  an  unlimited 
number  of  political  parties.   In  order  to  register  as  a 
legally  recognized  political  party,  an  organization  would  have 
to  demonstrate  that  it  would  have  no  regional,  racial,  ethnic 
or  religious  exclusiveness .   A  law  on  political  parties  was 
approved,  but  not  promulgated  at  year's  end.   Reportedly,  this 
law  reguires  a  party  to  demonstrate  that  it  has  a  certain 
minimal  number  of  supporters  distributed  throughout  the 
country,  and  mandates  central  budget  financing  of  all 
registered  parties  proportional  to  each  party's  representation 
in  the  legislature.   Late  in  the  year  several  small  opposition 
groups  indicated  they  plan  to  form  political  parties  and  had 
initiated  preliminary  organizational  work  with  no  apparent 
systematic  interference  from  the  Government.   However,  some 
reported  minor  harassment  by  local  officials  prior  to  the 
formal  implementation  of  the  new  Constitution. 

The  success  of  the  new  Constitution  and  a  multiparty  system 
will  depend  heavily  on  RENAMO  intentions.   While  RENAMO  has 
long  demanded  the  establishment  of  a  multiparty  system  in 
Mozambigue,  it  denounces  the  Government's  unilateral 
implementation  of  the  new  Constitution  and  legislation  on 
political  parties. 

Section  4   Governmental  Attitude  Regarding  International  and 

NonGovernmental  Investigation  of  Alleged  Violations 
of  Human  Rights 

There  are  no  local  organizations  which  monitor  human  rights 
abuses.   The  Government  is  receptive,  however,  to 
international  human  rights  monitoring  groups.   In  particular, 
the  Government  has  cooperated  closely  with  the  ICRC,  which 
maintains  an  office  in  Maputo.   During  a  September  visit  to 
Switzerland,  President  Chissano  met  with  the  President  of  the 


258 

MOZAMBIQUE  / 

ICRC.   The  ICRC  has  access  to  security  prisons  nationwide,  and 
in  1990  it  also  gained  access  to  security  prisoners  held  in 
civilian  prisons.   High-level  military  and  government 
officials  participated  in  ICRC-sponsored  courses  on 
humanitarian  law  during  1990. 

Section  5   Discrimination  Based  on  Race,  Sex,  Religion, 
Language,  or  Social  Status 

According  to  official  government  policy  and  pronouncements, 
Mozambique  is  a  multiracial,  nondiscriminatory  society.   There 
does  not  appear  to  be  any  systematic  persecution  on  the  basis 
of  ethnicity  or  race.   Nonetheless,  the  FRELIMO  Government 
tends  to  include  a  disproportionate  number  of  southerners, 
mostly  from  the  Shangaan  ethnic  group,  at  all  levels.   Members 
of  the  northern  Makonde  tribe  are  well  represented.   White, 
Asian,  and  mixed-race  Mozambicans  are  also  heavily  represented 
relative  to  their  numbers  in  the  population,  but  they  are  not 
allowed  in  the  military.   Most  observers,  both  Mozambican  and 
foreign,  believe  that  ethnic  imbalance  results  from  the 
greater  educational  opportunities  available  to  southerners  and 
nonblacks  under  the  former  colonial  administration,  and  not 
from  deliberate  government  policies.   The  Government  has  been 
undertaking  a  little-publicized  "Africanization"  program  of 
moving  black  Africans  into  positions  formerly  occupied  by 
whites.   Other  personnel  changes  seem  intended  to  redress 
regional  imbalances. 

The  leadership  of  the  RENAMO  insurgents  is  predominantly  from 
the  Shona-speaking  ethnic  groups  who  live  near  the  Zimbabwean 
border.   There  is  no  indication,  however,  that  the  conflict 
between  the  Government  and  RENAMO  is  primarily  motivated  by 
ethnicity,  although  ethnic  and  regional  factors  may  play  a 
role.   Historical  accident  appears  to  be  responsible  for  the 
ethnic  composition  of  the  RENAMO  leadership;  the  Shona  was  the 
group  culturally  and  geographically  most  accessible  to  the 
Rhodesian  intelligence  organization,  which  established  the 
forerunner  to  RENAMO  in  the  late  1970 's.   Since  then,  RENAMO 
has  recruited  from  all  ethnic  groups.   The  leadership  has  not 
emphasized  ethnic  issues  in  its  communiques  or  its  negotiating 
points.   Instead,  the  leadership  says  it  is  fighting  for 
political  democratization  and  economic  liberalization. 

Both  the  current  and  the  new  Constitutions  forbid 
discrimination  on  the  basis  of  sex  and  mandate  equal  rights 
and  responsibilities  for  women.   Family  law  requires  that 
women  have  equal  property  rights  and  rights  over  the  children 
in  any  marriage.   In  practice,  women  are  underrepresented  in 
the  professions  and  in  educational  institutions  at  all 
levels.   The  Organization  of  Mozambican  Women  (OMM)  has  made  a 
long-term  project  of  studying  the  traditional  practices  of  the 
various  ethnic  groups  and  challenging,  through  grassroots 
education  programs,  those  practices  that  they  determine  are 
detrimental  to  women. 

According  to  medical  and  other  sources,  violence  against 
women,  especially  wife  beating,  is  fairly  widespread  in 
Mozambique,  especially  in  the  rural  areas.   The  police  do  not 
normally  intervene  in  domestic  disputes,  and  cases  are  rarely 
brought  before  the  courts.   The  Government  has  not  addressed 
the  issue  specifically,  and  its  influence  is  weak,  especially 
in  many  rural  areas  affected  by  the  war.   The  OMM  is 
campaigning  to  change  public  attitudes  on  violence  against 
women  and  other  practices,  such  as  female  genital  mutilation 
(circumcision)  and  bride-price  payments,  which  continue  in 


259 


MOZAMBIQUE 

some  rural  areas.   Female  circumcision  is  found  most 
frequently  in  coastal  areas,  particularly  among  Muslim  groups. 

Section  6  Worker  Rights 

a.  The  Right  of  Association 

The  new  Constitution  specifies  that  all  workers  are  free  to 
join  or  not  join  a  trade  union.   However,  at  the  end  of  1990, 
all  trade  unions  were  still  incorporated  into  a  central  labor 
union  confederation,  the  Organization  of  Mozambican  Workers 
(OTM),  which  was  loosely  affiliated  with  the  FRELIMO  party 
until  November.   The  new  Constitution  is  ambiguous  about  the 
right  to  form  trade  unions  that  are  independent  of  the 
Government  and  party.   The  OTM  formally  ended  its  affiliation 
with  FRELIMO  in  November  and  selected  new  leadership  by  secret 
ballot. 

For  the  first  time,  the  new  Constitution  explicitly  provides 
for  the  right  to  strike.   In  the  past,  the  Government  quickly 
repressed  the  few  strikes  that  occurred.   In  the  early  months 
of  1990,  however,  Mozambique  experienced  an  unprecedented  wave 
of  wildcat  strikes,  with  over  150  walkouts  eventually 
affecting  ports,  railroads,  state  and  private  factories, 
hospitals,  and  schools  throughout  the  country. 

The  Government  responded  to  these  strikes  by  introducing  a  set 
of  provisional  guidelines  which  have  the  effect  of  delaying 
strikes,  but  which  nevertheless  conferred  de  facto  recognition 
of  the  right  to  strike  and  of  the  ad  hoc  committees  that 
evolved  to  negotiate  many  settlements.   These  guidelines 
require  prior  notice  of  strike  activity,  exhaustion  of  other 
alternatives,  presentation  of  a  list  of  demands,  and 
appointment  of  a  negotiating  committee.   According  to 
government  reports,  strikers  in  several  subsequent  walkouts 
adhered  to  the  guidelines.   The  authorities  made  a  number  of 
arrests  in  some  cases  where  vandalism  or  violence  accompanied 
strike  activity. 

The  OTM  considers  its  relations  with  international  trade  union 
organizations  to  be  an  important  element  of  its  mission,  and 
it  frequently  serves  as  a  conduit  for  foreign  assistance  to 
Mozambican  trade  unions.   The  OTM  is  not  affiliated  with  any 
non-African  international  trade  union  organization.   It  is  a 
member  of  the  Organization  of  African  Trade  Union  Unity  and 
the  Southern  African  Trade  Union  Coordinating  Council. 

b.  The  Right  to  Organize  and  Bargain  Collectively 

Under  current  legislation,  which  was  superseded  by  the  new 
Constitution,  workers  are  only  allowed  to  organize  and 
negotiate  with  employers  within  the  OTM  structure.   The 
Government  sets  most  wage  rates,  thus  limiting  the  scope  for 
collective  bargaining  as  such.   Traditionally,  the  OTM  has 
been  responsible  primarily  for  representing  workers  at 
disciplinary  action  hearings  and  during  labor  disputes. 
During  1990,  however,  the  OTM  faced  increasing  criticism 
because  it  was  widely  perceived  to  be  out  of  touch  with  worker 
concerns,  and  ad  hoc  committees  became  the  focal  point  for 
union  grievances. 

Many  of  the  legal  restrictions  affecting  collective  bargaining 
were  virtually  set  aside  during  the  1990  strikes.   Ad  hoc 
committees  operating  independently  of  OTM  leadership,  and  with 
a  combination  of  union  and  nonunion  members,  negotiated 


260 


MOZAMBIQUE 

numerous  settlements  in  1990.   Many  strikers  circumvented  the 
wage  rates  established  by  the  Government  by  focusing  their 
demands  on  negotiable  items,  such  as  food  and  transportation 
subsidies,  bonuses,  and  payment  of  back  wages.   The  cumulative 
pressure  of  so  many  strikes  evidently  led  the  Government  to 
reassess  the  wage  scales  and  implement  across-the-board 
increases  for  employees  of  the  Government  and  government-owned 
enterprises.   Legislation  permitting  collective  bargaining  has 
been  drafted  but  had  not  been  presented  to  the  Legislature  by 
year's  end. 

There  are  no  export  processing  zones  in  Mozambique. 

c.  Prohibition  of  Forced  or  Compulsory  Labor 

Forced  or  compulsory  labor  is  prohibited  by  law;  there  have 
been  no  reports  of  such  labor  practices  by  the  Government. 
RENAMO  reportedly  forces  kidnaped  civilians  to  perform  various 
support  functions,  including  portering  arms  and  supplies  and 
growing  food  for  combatants. 

d.  Minimum  Age  for  Employment  of  Children 

Child  labor  is  regulated,  and  in  the  wage  economy  the  minimum 
working  age  is  16.   Because  of  high  adult  unemployment,  there 
are  few  children  in  regular  wage  positions.   However,  minor 
children  commonly  work  on  family  farms  or  in  the  urban 
informal  sector,  where  they  perform  such  tasks  as  watching 
cars  or  collecting  scrap  metal. 

e.  Acceptable  Conditions  of  Work 

The  minimum  wage  is  set  at  about  $27  per  month  at  the  current 
official  exchange  rate,  although  it  is  less  than  half  that 
amount  in  dollar  terms  at  the  black  market  rate  of  exchange. 
This  amount  is  not  adequate  to  sustain  an  average  worker's 
family  in  the  city  of  Maputo.   The  cost  of  living  is  lower  in 
Beira  and  Nampula,  but  minimum  wages  still  cannot  be 
considered  "adequate."   Given  the  40-percent  unemployment  rate 
and  the  occasional  lack  of  effective  government  enforcement, 
many  salaried  workers  are  probably  receiving  less  than  the 
minimum,  and  workers  must  turn  to  second  jobs,  if  available, 
or  more  likely  to  subsistence  agriculture  to  survive.   An 
estimated  80  percent  of  the  work  force  is  engaged  in 
semisubsistence  agriculture,  which  is  not  covered  by  minimum 
wage  legislation.   The  standard  legal  workweek  is  44  hours. 

In  the  small,  modern  sector,  the  Government  has  enacted  health 
and  environmental  laws  to  protect  workers.   On  occasion,  the 
Government  has  closed  firms  for  noncompliance  with  these  laws, 
but  enforcement  is  sporadic  particularly  under  current 
economic  conditions. 


261 


NAMIBIA 


The  Republic  of  Namibia  became  independent  on  March  21,  1990, 
ending  74  years  of  South  African  rule.   Its  independence — 
supervised  by  the  U.N.  Transition  Assistance  Group  (UNTAG)  and 
attended  by  many  world  leaders — marked  the  end  of  colonialism 
in  Africa.   The  new  nation  of  Namibia  is  a  functioning 
multiparty,  multiracial  democracy.   Its  Constitution  contains 
an  entrenched  bill  of  rights,  which  provides  for  freedom  of 
speech,  press,  assembly,  association,  and  religion.   It  also, 
provides  for  free  presidential  elections  by  secret  ballot 
every  5  years,  a  two-term  presidency,  a  bicameral  parliament 
(the  National  Assembly),  an  independent  judiciary,  and 
abolition  of  the  death  penalty.   Efforts  at  national 
reconciliation  among  Namibia's  many  racial,  ethnic,  and 
regional  groups  are  being  vigorously  pursued. 

The  South  West  Africa  People's  Organization  (SWAPO)  won 
Namibia's  first  free  election  in  November  1989  with  57  per 
cent  of  the  vote.   The  Democratic  Turnhalle  Alliance  (DTA), 
SWAPO ' s  major  opposition,  and  five  other  minor  parties  are 
also  represented  in  the  National  Assembly,  which  selected  the 
SWAPO  leader,  Sam  Nujoma,  as  the  country's  first  President. 
The  SWAPO-led  Government  has  one  non-SWAPO  member  among  its  16 
cabinet  ministers.   There  were  several  key  questions  of 
government  policy  and  organization  still  outstanding  at  the 
end  of  1990,  including  the  establishment  of  a  second  chamber 
in  Parliament,  regional  and  local  elections,  and  land  reform 
issues. 

The  main  security  force  is  the  Namibian  Defense  Force  (NDF), 
which  is  comprised  of  former  soldiers  of  the  People's 
Liberation  Army  of  Namibia  (SWAPO' s  erstwhile  military  wing  ) 
and  former  members  of  the  South  West  African  Territorial  Force 
(SWATF) — forces  that  fought  each  other  in  the  years  prior  to 
independence.   A  small  police  force  assists  in  maintaining 
internal  security.   For  a  brief  period  in  1990,  there  was  a 
special  constabulary  force  composed  of  former  SWAPO  guerrillas 
charged  with  patrol  and  police  responsibilities  on  the 
northern  border.   This  special  force  was  disbanded  in  August 
after  it  was  charged  with  serious  human  rights  violations,  and 
its  duties  were  taken  over  by  the  NDF.   The  President's 
November  appointment  of  Major  General  Solomon  "Jesus"  Hawala, 
accused  of  torturing  SWAPO  detainees  in  Angola  in  past  years, 
as  army  commander  of  the  NDF  created  a  storm  of  controversy 
and  much  discussion  in  Parliament,  but  he  was  confirmed  by  the 
National  Assembly  in  December. 

The  dominant  feature  of  the  Namibian  economy  is  its  dualism, 
with  a  modern  market  sector  producing  most  of  its  wealth  and  a 
traditional  subsistence  agricultural  sector  (mainly  in  the 
north)  supporting  most  of  its  labor  force.   The  mainstays  of 
the  market  sector  are  mining,  ranching,  and  fishing,  still 
mostly  controlled  by  white  Namibian  businessmen.   In  1990 
President  Nujoma  stressed  the  leading  role  of  the  private 
sector,  and  a  new  investment  code  was  approved  by  the  Cabinet 
and  adopted  by  Parliament  in  December. 

Namibia  had  a  generally  favorable  human  rights  record  in 
1990.   Much  of  the  controversy  over  human  rights  centered  on 
how  to  come  to  terms  with  abuses  committed  under  the  previous 
administration  and  by  the  SWAPO  opposition.   In  1990  the 
principal  human  rights  issue  was  the